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Rural Residents More Fatalistic About Cancer

Additionally, rural residents show greater information overload

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Rural residents show higher levels of cancer fatalism and cancer information overload than urban residents, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Jakob D. Jensen, Ph.D., from University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues analyzed online and in-person surveys conducted at 12 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the United States to assess urban and rural differences in cancer-related beliefs such as fatalism and information overload that undermine prevention and screening behaviors. The analysis included 10,362 adults, including 3,821 designated as rural and 6,541 as urban (mean age, 56.97 years; non-Hispanic White, 81 percent; female, 57 percent).

The researchers found that compared with urban residents, rural residents were more likely to believe that everything causes cancer (odds ratio [OR], 1.29), prevention is not possible (OR, 1.34), and there are too many different recommendations about cancer prevention (OR, 1.26). Rural residents were also more likely to believe cancer is always fatal (OR, 1.21).

“Our findings are in line with previous research showing that this type of thinking might be a consequence of a wider cultural setup that fosters self-reliance and coping beliefs in response to stress and lack of resources,” Jensen said in a statement. “The findings of our study are consistent with this logic as populations with fewer resources (in this case, rural adults) are more likely to reduce (fatalism) or revise (overload) the situation.”

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