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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


SANZ-BARBERO, Belén et al. Perception of risk factors for cancer in the Spanish population. Gac Sanit [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.2, pp.137-145. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To analyze the perception of the Spanish population of risk factors for cancer. Methods: Data were extracted from the OncoBarometro 2010 survey. Multivariate logistic models were applied to analyze the perception of the population on the importance of various risk factors: smoking, alcohol, sun, food, weight, sexually transmitted diseases, family history, radiation exposure, exposure to toxic substances and air pollution. The answers were rated on a 0 to 10 scale and were converted to low (0-6) and high (7-10) categories. The measure of association used was the prevalence ratio (PR). Results: The greatest importance was assigned to smoking (high importance: 83.1%), whereas the least importance was assigned to weight (26.5%). In general, the probability of perceiving risk factors as important was lower among men (PR sun: 0.87; PR sexually transmitted diseases: 0.78) and increased among people who received professional advice on cancer prevention (PR alcohol: 1.11; PR sun: 1.18; PR food; 1.31; PR weight: 1.92). In particular, knowledge of symptoms and extreme fear of cancer were associated with perceiving smoking as an important risk factor, whereas a high perceived vulnerability to cancer was associated with perceiving exposure to toxic substances, pollution and smoking as important risk factors. Conclusions Greater awareness is required of the association of cancer with overweight and sexually transmitted diseases. The recommendations given by health professionals on cancer prevention are key to increasing the population's awareness of risk factors for cancer.

Keywords : Neoplasms; Risk factors; Social perceptions.

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