Barriers to healthcare seeking, beliefs about cancer and the role of socio-economic position. A Danish population-based study

Prev Med. 2015 Feb;71:107-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.007. Epub 2014 Dec 15.

Abstract

Background: Cancer-related health behaviours may be affected by barriers to healthcare seeking and beliefs about cancer. The aim was to assess anticipated barriers to healthcare seeking and beliefs about cancer in a sample of the Danish population and to assess the association with socio-economic position.

Methods: A population-based telephone interview with 3000 randomly sampled persons aged 30 years or older was performed using the Awareness and Beliefs about Cancer measure from 31 May to 4 July 2011. The Awareness and Beliefs about Cancer measure includes statements about four anticipated barriers to healthcare seeking and three positively and three negatively framed beliefs about cancer. For all persons, register-based information on socio-economic position was obtained through Statistics Denmark.

Results: Two anticipated barriers, worry about what the doctor might find and worry about wasting the doctor's time, were present among 27% and 15% of the respondents, respectively. Overall, a high proportion of respondents concurred with positive beliefs about cancer; fewer concurred with negative beliefs. Having a low educational level and a low household income were strongly associated with having negative beliefs about cancer.

Conclusion: The fact that worry about what the doctor might find and worry about wasting the doctor's time were commonly reported barriers call for initiatives in general practice. The association between low educational level and low household income and negative beliefs about cancer might to some degree explain the negative socio-economic gradient in cancer outcome.

Keywords: Barriers; Beliefs; Cancer; Denmark; Healthcare seeking; Inequality; Socio-economic position.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Culture
  • Denmark
  • Fear
  • Female
  • General Practitioners
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Socioeconomic Factors