While a wide range of behavioral and psychosocial literature explores attitudes and beliefs towards cancer screenings, fewer studies examine attitudes across cancer screening types. We draw on quantitative and qualitative findings from a 4-year prospective study based at a community health center serving diverse, low-income patients. Methods included self-report surveys (n = 297), medical chart abstraction, and several qualitative methods with a subsample of participants. Participants included white, African-American, Vietnamese, and Latino patients who were diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, or both. Patients' attitudes (both positive and negative) towards cancer screening types were remarkably consistent across cancer screening types. These effects were stronger among men than women. Never having had a cancer screening was generally associated with more unfavorable attitudes towards all screenings. Qualitative interviews indicate the importance of information circulated through social networks in shaping attitudes towards cancer screenings.
Condensed abstract: In a multi-method study of attitudes towards cancer screening among medically underserved patients in a primary care setting, we found that attitudes (both positive and negative) were remarkably consistent across cancer screening types.