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Why Some Women Believe Breast Cancer is More Deadly than Heart Disease

Why Some Women Believe Breast Cancer is More Deadly than Heart Disease
July 26
17:42 2016

Breast cancer awareness campaigns have done an excellent job of informing the public about breast cancer, so much so that minority and less educated women believe it is the number 1 killer.

However, heart disease is actually the most common killer. The Researchers at the University of Missouri were surprised to discover that some women don’t know this about their health. After their findings, they then recommended that health providers emphasize heart health to change the perception that it is less of a concern than breast cancer.

“Part of the Affordable Care Act is designed to help health care providers identify strategies to encourage the population to live healthier and prevent breast cancer and heart disease,” said Julie M. Kapp, associate professor in the Department of Health Management and Informatics at the MU School of Medicine. “But before we can develop these targeted approaches, we have to understand the perceptions and behaviors of our audience — in this case, premenopausal women.”

Although females in the US are exposed to a high risk of breast cancer, one in 30 women die of the disease, heart disease is the bigger threat. One in seven die of heart disease.

Obesity, which has a correlation to heart disease, is one of the most common concerns by health care professionals. But, the reasoning behind why obesity is such a concern needs to be better explained.

Like we mentioned earlier, the marketing campaign behind the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness is so impressive and distinctive, that the disease is associated as the one to be more concerned about.

“The pink ribbon is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world and is associated with a very effective campaign, which might relate to the perception that breast cancer is a more common killer than other women’s health issues,” said Kapp. “Perhaps because of this, we found that minority women and women with a college education or less had greater odds of believing that breast cancer, rather than heart disease, causes more deaths in women yearly. Additionally, a quarter of the women surveyed reported that they are not making healthy lifestyle changes related to breast health, even though premenopausal women have the most to gain in knowledge and behaviors over their lifetime.”

So, how do we solve this problem? Well, the researchers are endorsing that health providers promote messages about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, while alerting them of the risk of both heart disease and breast cancer. Not to mention, all education levels need to be aware of these risks too.


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