University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Developing Cancer Education Curriculum to Enhance Cancer Literacy in Appalachian Kentucky Middle and High School Students

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Neuroscience and Biology

Minor

Spanish

Institution

University of Kentucky

KY House District #

63

KY Senate District #

23

Department

Department of Toxicology & Cancer Biology

Abstract

Background

Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly 600,000 patients each year. Kentucky has the highest cancer incidence and mortality rates in the United States, and residents of Appalachian are disproportionally affected. Various social determinants of health contribute to this disparity, including obesity, poor diet, lack of access to healthcare service, and economic dependence on tobacco. Cancer literacy, which is defined as a person’s ability to make appropriate healthcare decisions, is essential to improving reducing Kentucky’s cancer burden.

Methods

A team at the Markey Cancer Center traveled to 6 middle and high schools in central and eastern Kentucky, 5 of which were located in the Appalachian region. Upon arrival, a 10-question cancer-related pretest was distributed to students. Immediately after the pretest, a 30-minute presentation covering cancer basics was given, followed by an identical 10-question posttest. 3 months after the intervention, a follow-up survey was sent via email to all participants.

Results

The results show that a brief, cancer-related intervention significantly improved students’ cancer literacy. Additionally, students are likely to share this information with their friends and family. To influence long-term cancer literacy, we created cancer education curriculum for Appalachian Kentucky middle and high school students. This curriculum contains 3 lessons that cover cancer basics, risk factors, and treatments. The lessons, which are culturally tailored to Appalachian Kentucky students, are equipped with corresponding teachers’ guides, instructional PowerPoints, pre/posttests, and guided recordings.

Discussion

By educating students at a formative age, we are motivating them to adopt healthy habits and encouraging them to share this information with others in their community. Increased cancer education through classroom curriculum can increase cancer literacy, which can reduce the cancer disparity in Appalachian Kentucky.

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Developing Cancer Education Curriculum to Enhance Cancer Literacy in Appalachian Kentucky Middle and High School Students

Background

Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly 600,000 patients each year. Kentucky has the highest cancer incidence and mortality rates in the United States, and residents of Appalachian are disproportionally affected. Various social determinants of health contribute to this disparity, including obesity, poor diet, lack of access to healthcare service, and economic dependence on tobacco. Cancer literacy, which is defined as a person’s ability to make appropriate healthcare decisions, is essential to improving reducing Kentucky’s cancer burden.

Methods

A team at the Markey Cancer Center traveled to 6 middle and high schools in central and eastern Kentucky, 5 of which were located in the Appalachian region. Upon arrival, a 10-question cancer-related pretest was distributed to students. Immediately after the pretest, a 30-minute presentation covering cancer basics was given, followed by an identical 10-question posttest. 3 months after the intervention, a follow-up survey was sent via email to all participants.

Results

The results show that a brief, cancer-related intervention significantly improved students’ cancer literacy. Additionally, students are likely to share this information with their friends and family. To influence long-term cancer literacy, we created cancer education curriculum for Appalachian Kentucky middle and high school students. This curriculum contains 3 lessons that cover cancer basics, risk factors, and treatments. The lessons, which are culturally tailored to Appalachian Kentucky students, are equipped with corresponding teachers’ guides, instructional PowerPoints, pre/posttests, and guided recordings.

Discussion

By educating students at a formative age, we are motivating them to adopt healthy habits and encouraging them to share this information with others in their community. Increased cancer education through classroom curriculum can increase cancer literacy, which can reduce the cancer disparity in Appalachian Kentucky.