Public perceptions of cancer risk: lifestyle changes & trade-offs for risk reduction
In Sweden, cancer is the second-most common cause of death – and cases are increasing. Research shows that up to 28% of cases can be linked to smoking, sun exposure, diet, excess weight or obesity, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and infection. This means changing your lifestyle can play an essential role in risk reduction.
To guide public health interventions, it is crucial to understand how people perceive their personal risk of developing cancer, their knowledge about causal factors, and their preferences and acceptance for risk reducing activities.
This project aims to investigate just that, with a special focus on two common cancers among the Swedish population: beast cancer and colorectal cancer. And how the general public prefers information about lifestyle-related risk factors should be communicated on a population-based level in order to avoid and stigma.
The knowledge gained will be used to design risk information based on peoples pre-existing knowledge and values, to avoid placing guilt on already vulnerable populations and instead empower them. Results will help policy makers and general public health professionals to invest in the interventions for which there is the most acceptance among the general public.
This project has received funding from The Swedish Cancer Society from July 2023 to December 2026.
Åsa Grauman, Doctor of Medicine, researcher