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Cancer: Risk Communication

  • By: Anne L. Ersig
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Cancer risk communication provides a unique context for examining risk communication processes. As defined by B. K. Rimer and B. Glassman, the risk communication process is an “interactive process of exchange that includes multiple messages about the nature of cancer and related risks.” Communication about cancer risk is particularly complex, encompassing multiple topics, individuals or groups, and channels of communication. Characteristics of cancer and cancer risk also make it a useful paradigm for exploring issues identified in the broader field of health communication (e.g., genetics, communication within families).

Cancer risk communication addresses multiple topics, depending on the context and relationship within which the communication occurs. These can include perceptions of personal cancer risk, behaviors that reduce or increase risk, and presentation of risk-related information. Communication may ...

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