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Ageing and Health


Thu 27. 8.  14:00 - 15:30
room FA 203

Older people’s beliefs about cancer in Poland. Implications for health promotion and cancer prevention


Synowiec-Piłat, Małgorzata (1); Majchrowska, Anita (2); Pałęga, Anna (3)
1: Wroclaw Medical University, Poland; 2: Medical University of Lublin, Poland; 3: College of Management "Edukacja" in Wroclaw, Poland

Poland is among the countries with the highest rates of mortality from cancer, and 75% of deaths from cancer occurs after the age of 60. In the case of cancer, particular attention should be paid to the existence of excessive anxiety and fatalistic beliefs that reduce the likelihood of an individual commitment to health behaviors. The study was carried out in 2012 with a sample of 910 adult residents of Wrocław, Poland. An interview questionnaire was used. The article presents data on the older adults (56+) (N = 188). The aim of the study was to assess the level of anxiety and older people’s beliefs about: cancer-related pain, the effectiveness of medicine in the fight against cancer, treatment and curability of cancer, cancer prevention trials, personal responsibility for getting cancer, and the etiology of cancer. The vast majority of respondents experience fear of cancer (81%). The level of anxiety increases with the age of respondents. A large number of respondents manifested fatalistic beliefs: ¼ does not believe in the efficacy of medicine in the fight against cancer; 70% say "cancer always hurts, is associated with suffering"; 27% say that "cancer can not be cured, it always ends in death." The level of fatalistic beliefs increases with age in the case of the respondents beliefs relating to: the effectiveness of medicine in the fight against cancer and cancer pain; surgical treatment of cancer. The results will help to develop more effective health promotion and cancer prevention approach focused on older adults.