Understanding by the General Public of Newspaper Reports on Publicly Reported Cancer Survival in Japan: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective

This study was aimed to examine how well readers of newspapers understand cancer survival rate data, and the effect of this understanding on their behavioral intent.

Methods

We recruited 1950 persons who were 20 years old or older registered with a market research company. Participants were randomly divided into 10 groups; 9 were assigned one of nine newspaper articles, and the remaining group was assigned the excerpt of the official Association of Clinical Cancer Centers web pages. The primary outcome was the proportion of respondents with ‘sufficient understanding’, who gave 70% or more correct answers on a 10-item knowledge question.

Results

The proportion of participants with sufficient understanding varied across the groups (range: 0.8–22.1%, overall, P < 0.001). Only around 15% of participants answered that they would consider other hospitals in a scenario where the only hospital in the participants' area had a 5-year survival of 5% or less, and answers did not significantly vary between groups (range: 11.1–21.0%, overall P = 0.77).

Conclusions

The level of understanding of cancer survival rate varied by variation in media reporting. However, the effect of behavioral intent on hospital choice did not differ between articles.

Trial registration

UMIN CTR UMIN000004885.

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