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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Arizona Researchers and Hualapai Indian Community Health Program Explore Cancer Information Seeking Behavior and Risk Perceptions

Cancer incidence among American Indians is low, yet their five-year relative survival rate is the second lowest of all U.S. populations.  Culturally relevant cancer prevention education is key to achieving health equity, according to Dr. Nicolette Teufel-Shone, who worked with fellow researchers and students from the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in a collaborative project with the Hualapai Tribe. In this project, the group modified the National Cancer Institute’s 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) to develop a more culturally relevant cancer information survey that was used to document the health seeking behaviors, perceptions of cancer risks and prevention among American Indian adults residing in the Hualapai Indian community.

A team of health care providers, educators and cancer survivors (six native and three non-native) completed the adaptation. Four trained native interviewers administered the survey using a random household survey design. The Hualapai HINTS was well accepted (<5 % refusal rate) and was completed by 205 adults (20.5 % of all adult residents).  Respondents reported a preference for, and a trust in, verbal cancer information and communication with health care professionals (77.1 % preference; 57.4 % trust) and at workshops (75.2 % preference; 45.5 % trust). Respondents were aware of some health behaviors associated with reduced cancer risk, such as avoiding tobacco use, and the need for cancer screening.  Respondents were less well informed about the role of diet and exercise in cancer prevention. These findings were used to inform local cancer prevention education efforts and to develop a series of monthly workshops that engaged local health professionals to reinforce and discuss the role of lifestyle-related factors, specifically diet and exercise, in reducing cancer risk.

The article, “Documenting Cancer Information Seeking Behavior and Risk Perception in the Hualapai Indian Community to Inform a Community Health Program” was published in the Journal of Journal of Community Health, October 2015, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 891-898.  The article can be accessed at the following link: