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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • cancer prevention;
  • attitudes;
  • demographics

KEENEY S., MCKENNA H., FLEMING P. & MCILFATRICK S. (2010) European Journal of Cancer Care19, 769–777 Attitudes to cancer and cancer prevention: what do people aged 35–54 years think?

The aim of this study was to explore the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of people in mid-life towards cancer prevention. The study was undertaken in Northern Ireland between 2003 and 2007. This was a mixed methods study using a sequential exploratory design. The theoretical framework was the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the methodology was based on Sutton's framework. There were three methodological stages in the study using focus groups, a large cross-sectional survey and a volunteer sample survey. This paper focuses on the findings of the cross-sectional survey relating to the attitudes of people in mid-life towards cancer and cancer prevention. Findings are considered in relation to the respondents' level of knowledge, age, gender, level of educational attainment and socio-economic status. Evidence from this study shows that attitudes towards cancer and cancer prevention are associated significantly with level of knowledge about cancer, gender, socio-economic status and level of educational attainment. In conclusion, the evidence from this study shows that men, those with a lower level of education, those with a lower level of knowledge and those in a lower socio-economic group were more likely to hold negative attitudes about cancer and cancer prevention.