Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- LAST REVIEWED: 15 June 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 May 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0098
- LAST REVIEWED: 15 June 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 May 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0098
Cancer communication is defined as the study and application of messages delivered through selective media channels that include individual actors, institutions, social networks, intervention settings, and media sources of all sizes to convey relevant cancer information to targeted audiences: such as sections of the general public, those at heightened cancer risk, cancer patients, survivors, or caregivers. These varied channels of communication are often a crucial information delivery mechanism to impart cancer messages across the cancer continuum, from prevention through survivorship or end of life. The nature of these cancer messages may change based on the characteristics of the receiver and can include an array of topics from information on screening, risk, and treatment, to topics of coping or how to obtain tangible resources. Throughout this entry, articles and texts have been chosen that have been key in producing effective cancer communication. For example, information exchange occurring between patient-caregiver dyads or through social support networks is emphasized as an important avenue for influencing prevention, treatment, and coping behaviors. The power of mass media is also discussed, exploring how these channels can be utilized to bring about behavior change and highlighting the promise of online communication. Information seeking and scanning behaviors related to mass media are explored, and differences in these behaviors by varied socioeconomic groups are presented. Other sections highlight factors to consider when designing messages, including utilizing theory, communicating risk, and employing diverse messaging strategies to increase comprehension and reach. Cancer communication interventions are also discussed in a larger context, such as designing for dissemination and considering community and structural characteristics during the design phase. However, the article issues a caution throughout; health disparities can either be addressed or increased through communication. Discussed are the challenges for reaching all audiences with cancer information, and the ways in which current communications may fall short of reaching the needs of all groups. Reviews, commentaries, and book chapters that recognize the need to create communication that is relevant, culturally appropriate, and delivered through the appropriate channels to reach the ideal audience have been chosen to contribute to each of the sections. Works included in this entry are taken from all areas of the cancer continuum and indicate the impact of communication from prevention to the end of life. Since the majority of the burden of cancer is found in older adults, special attention is also given to the area of cancer communication for the aging population. Articles discussing the changing communication landscape have been included to illustrate the way the field must adapt quickly to new opportunities and challenges put forth by the growth of technology.
A number of texts have explored how both health communication and cancer communication can be harnessed for behavior change among diverse populations. Each of the reference texts in this section contains valuable information such as examples, methodology, theory, and specific communication techniques to guide cancer communication efforts. For example, Thompson, et al. 2011 provides a comprehensive discourse on the field with entries that are appropriate for novice or veteran researchers. Rutten, et al. 2011 draws from the widely used Health Informational National Trends Survey (HINTS), a US-based, nationally representative survey, to provide a guide on how to use national data sets to explore cancer communication questions. Two more general resources concerning the larger field of health communication also contain valuable information for constructing health messages. Institute of Medicine 2002 provides an overview of the use of theory, illustrating points with cancer-related examples. Hornik 2002 also provides studies from a myriad of fields to illustrate communications theory and concepts. Zarcadoolas, et al. 2006 provides a deeper look into the issue of health literacy, providing general challenges in the field, specific examples of how literacy applies to different populations, and guidelines for more effectively reaching low-literacy audiences.
Hornik, Robert. 2002. Public health communication: Evidence for behavior change. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Argues the case that public health communication has affected health behavior by bringing together sixteen studies of large-scale communication in a variety of substantive health areas. Includes approaches to developing communication interventions and alternative methods for evaluation of public health communication projects.
Institute of Medicine. 2002. Speaking of health: Assessing health communication strategies for diverse populations. Washington, DC: National Academies.
Provides guidance for addressing the challenges of delivering messages to different audiences. Discusses theories of communication and behavior change and provides a case study regarding mammography use, comparing the effectiveness of messages in different populations. Gives a good sense of the importance of context and theory when designing communication strategies.
Rutten, Lila J. F., B. Hesse, R. P. Moser, and G. L. Kreps, eds. 2011. Building the evidence base in cancer communication. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton.
A volume discussing methodological issues, health disparities, and future work in health communication and informatics research. The book engages with the Health Information National Trends Survey, a survey exploring the information needs, information-seeking patterns, and health behaviors of a nationally representative sample. Provides specific data examples and lessons learned from three administrations of the survey.
Thompson, Teresa L., R. Parrott, and J. F. Nussbaum, eds. 2011. The Routledge handbook of health communication. New York: Routledge.
Contains chapters from contributing authors (including top researchers) that explore communication research and practice. Sections provide a thorough background of the methods, information sources, and technologies that represent the current state of the science. This text provides both an introductory view of communication and indicates directions for future research.
Zarcadoolas, Christina, A. Pleasant, and D. Greer, eds. 2006. Advancing health literacy: A framework for understanding and action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
A thorough text of the development and rise of health literacy, including definitions of literacy and how it functions within both the written and spoken word. Chapters also delve into implications for health literacy in different media channels, including mass media and the Internet and provide specific examples of health literacy within certain cultural and cancer-specific contexts.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion