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Myths and Misconceptions about Cancer: Findings from Jordan
Current Issue
Volume 2, 2015
Issue 6 (December)
Pages: 88-93   |   Vol. 2, No. 6, December 2015   |   Follow on         
Paper in PDF Downloads: 205   Since Oct. 16, 2015 Views: 3129   Since Oct. 16, 2015
Latefa Ali Dardas, School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.
Muayyad M. Ahmad, Clinical Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.
Background: There has been a growing body of research investigating the social myths and misconceptions associated with cancer. However, no studies have tapped this arena in Arab countries like Jordan. Therefore, this study was designed around two purposes: 1) to explore whether receiving a diagnosis of cancer is associated with myths and misconceptions from a Jordanian public perspective, and 2) to explore the sociodemographic correlates of cancer myths and misconceptions, if exist, with an eye toward implications for a culturally competent practice that can promote the health of Jordanian patients diagnosed with cancer and their families. Methods: A randomized sample of 3,174 participants was interviewed using a structured tool that includes questions on participants’ socio-demographic characteristics and beliefs on cancer causes and prognosis. Data were analyzed using descriptive and correlation statistics. Results: Receiving a diagnosis of cancer in Jordan was found associated with many myths and misconceptions and was considered a stigmatized condition. Almost 70% of the participants reported that when they think of cancer, they immediately think of death, and considered it a hopeless diagnosis. A belief that cancer can be caused by envy and witchcraft, or by an exposure to a patient with cancer also existed, especially among females. Participants’ gender, education, and income were significantly associated with holding misconceptions about cancer causes and prognosis. Conclusion: Findings from this study can contribute to a better understanding of the socio-demographic characteristics that can influence the knowledge and beliefs associated with receiving a diagnosis of cancer in Jordan. The study may assist health policymakers in designing support programs that holistically consider the psychological health and socioeconomic backgrounds of cancer patients to better influence the outcomes of their experience.
Cancer, Jordan, Myths, Misconceptions, Knowledge, Socio-demographic Characteristics
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