March 15, 2019

Rural Minnesota residents have bleaker outlooks on cancer

By Karl Oestreich

Star Tribune
by Jeremy Olson

Rural adults have more pessimistic and fatalistic views about their risks of contracting and dying from cancer, according to a new survey conducted by Mayo Clinic. The rural-urban divide transcended Star Tribune Logodifferences in age, race and health insurance, according to the survey of 1,157 people in Mayo’s three primary service areas, Arizona, Florida and Rochester, Minn. The difference could help explain why preventable cancers haven’t been declining as quickly in rural areas, said Kristin Harden, the lead researcher, who presented the findings at a public health conference in Washington, D.C. “Having these kinds of pessimistic beliefs toward cancer prevention may discourage participation in cancer prevention and screening, which could contribute to health disparities,” she said. The share of people extremely or moderately worried about getting cancer ranged from 37 percent among rural respondents to 23 percent among those in urban areas.

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Additional coverage: Daily Mail

Context: People living in rural areas are more likely to have ambiguous beliefs and fears about getting cancer, as well as more fatalistic viewpoints, than urban dwellers. That's according to reports from a Mayo Clinic research team. "Survey respondents who live in the rural areas were more likely to agree with statements such as: 'It seems like everything causes cancer'; 'There is not much you can do to lower your chances of getting cancer'; and 'There are so many different recommendations about preventing cancer, it's hard to know which ones to follow,'" says Kristin J. Harden, a health services researcher at Mayo Clinic and the study's lead author. "They were also more likely to respond 'extremely' to the question, 'How worried are you about getting cancer?'" You can read more about the study on Mayo Clinic News Network.

Contact:  Elizabeth Zimmermann

Tags: cancer prevention, Kristin Harden, Star Tribune, Uncategorized

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