Oncology health care professionals' attitudes to cancer: a professional concern

Kearney, N., Miller, M., Paul, J. , Smith, K. and Rice, A. (2003) Oncology health care professionals' attitudes to cancer: a professional concern. Annals of Oncology, 14(1), pp. 57-61. (doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdg018)

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Background: Despite the known benefits of screening, early detection and advances in treatment modalities, negative attitudes to cancer persist among health care professionals, and cancer remains the most feared disease in modern society. Attitudes to cancer may create a barrier to communication between patients and health care professionals, hinder early detection, treatment and rehabilitation, and may influence decision making about referral to specialist services and the selection of appropriate treatments. Design: A descriptive survey was conducted, within a Regional Cancer Centre, to evaluate oncology health care professionals' attitudes towards cancer. Attitudes were measured using the Burns' Cancer Belief Scales. Results: Regardless of gender, profession and clinical experience, all health care professionals displayed persistently negative attitudes towards cancer. No statistically significant difference was detected between gender, profession, clinical experience or specialist education, and although small in number, no major differences were found between group means. Conclusions: Oncology health care professionals hold negative attitudes towards cancer and changing these attitudes presents a significant challenge. Educational programmes and supportive strategies may alleviate fears and promote a more positive image of cancer. However, such strategies must be based on an understanding of current attitudes towards this phenomenon.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Paul, Mr James and Rice, Prof Ann Marie
Authors: Kearney, N., Miller, M., Paul, J., Smith, K., and Rice, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Nursing and Health Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Annals of Oncology

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