Perceived cancer risk among American Indians: Implications for intervention research

Angela A. Gonzales, Thanh G.N. Ton, Eva Marie Garroutte, Jack Goldberg, Dedra Buchwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Perceived risk of disease plays a key role in health behaviors, making it an important issue for cancer-prevention research. We investigate associations between perceived cancer risk and selected cancer risk factors in a population-based sample of American Indians. Study Design and Population: Data for this cross-sectional study come from a random sample of 182 American Indian adults, aged ≥40 years, residing on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Outcome Measures: Perception of cancer risk was ascertained with the 5-point Likert scale question, "How likely do you think it is that you will develop cancer in the future?"dichotomized into low perceived risk and high perceived risk. Results: Participants reporting a family member with cancer were more likely, by greater than five times, to report the perception that they would get cancer (O=55.3; 95% CI: 2.3, 12.3). After controlling for age and family history of cancer, knowledge of cancer risk factors and attitude about cancer prevention were not significantly associated with risk perception. Conclusions: Perceived cancer risk was significantly associated with self-reported family history of cancer, supporting the importance of personal knowledge of cancer among American Indians. Further research is needed to obtain a more complete picture of the factors associated with perceptions of cancer risk among American Indians in order to develop effective interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-462
Number of pages5
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Cancer
  • Cancer knowledge
  • Family history
  • Health belief model
  • Indians
  • North America
  • Risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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