Factors Associated With Cancer Worry Among People Aged 50 or Older, Spain, 2012–2014
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Factors Associated With Cancer Worry Among People Aged 50 or Older, Spain, 2012–2014
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Introduction Cancer worry varies among patients and may influence their participation in preventive activities. We tested whether sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle, locus of control, comorbidity, and perceived health status were associated with the level of cancer worry among adults aged 50 or older. Methods We conducted an observational cross-sectional study of 666 adults in Spain aged 50 or older. Participants were selected by simple random sampling and asked to visit their designated health center for a personal interview. The study variables were level of cancer worry (measured by Cancer Worry Scale [CWS]), sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle, personal history or family history of cancer, comorbidity, self-perceived health, locus of control, and social support. Results More than half of participants, 58.1%, were women; mean age was 60.5 years (standard deviation [SD], 6.8 y). Measurement of the frequency and severity of cancer worry (possible scale of 6–24 points) yielded a mean CWS score of 9.3 (95% confidence interval, 9.0–9.5); 31.9% of participants reported being concerned about cancer. Scores were higher among women (9.7 [SD, 3.3]) than men (8.7 [SD, 2.7]) (P < .001) and among participants in rural settings (10.0 [SD, 3.4]) than in urban settings (9.0 [SD, 3.0]) (P < .001). Multiple linear regression showed a greater degree of cancer worry among people with personal or family history of cancer, more health problems, worse self-perceived health, and lower social support. Conclusion Cancer worry is frequent among older adults, and the level of such concern is related not only to personal characteristics but also to lifestyle and health status. Further research is required to understand how contextual factors can influence cancer worry and how such concern changes behavior patterns related to cancer prevention activities.
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