Cancer awareness in the general population varies with sex, age and media coverage: A population-based survey with focus on gynecologic cancers
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionEuropean Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. 2021, 256, 25-31. 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.10.051
Objectives There is a need for more knowledge about the public awareness and attitudes towards gynecologic cancers. We employed a research-purpose population-based citizen panel to assess how often people recall gynecologic cancers compared to other cancer types and to explore the relative importance of different information channels in relaying cancer information. Study design We conducted an online survey using the Norwegian Citizen Panel (n = 1441 respondents), exploring associations between demographic factors and frequency of mentioning specific cancer types. We also searched The Norwegian Media Archive to assess the media coverage of different cancer types. Factors affecting likelihood of mentioning different cancers were assessed by multivariate regression. Results Only 41 % of respondents listed one or more cancers in female genital organs. Of the gynecological cancers, cervical cancer was most frequently mentioned (28 %), followed by ovarian (12 %) and endometrial cancer (11 %). Female responders were more likely to mention cervical (OR 2.47, 95 % CI 2.16–2.78) and ovarian cancer (OR 2.09, 95 % CI 1.60–2.58) than male responders, but not endometrial cancer. Family and friends who have had cancer (50 %) and different types of media coverage (41 %) were reported as the most common sources of cancer information. The three most frequently mentioned cancer types in our survey were breast (77 %), hematologic (76 %) and lung cancer (75 %), which also were the cancer types having most media coverage. Conclusions Gynecological cancers are less frequently mentioned by Norwegian citizens when compared to several other cancer types such as breast-, hematologic- and lung cancer. Sex and age are important factors that affect awareness of cancer types. Media is likely to play an important role in what cancer types the public recalls.