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Lay beliefs on Polish oncology in the evaluation of healthy individuals

Zakład Humanistycznych Nauk Lekarskich, Uniwersytet Medyczny im. Piastów Śląskich we Wrocławiu, Poland
Introduction. Poland is among the countries which reported the highest rates of mortality from cancer. The health behaviours of people are influenced, among other things, by their beliefs about cancer, but their evaluation of oncological institutions and specialists seems also to be of great importance. Objectives. 1. How the respondents evaluate Polish oncology: a) the conditions of treatment in oncology hospitals, b) access to oncological medical services, c) the competence of oncologists. 2. What are the socio-cultural factors of the assessment of Polish oncology? 3. What is the influence of the grade level of the assessment of Polish oncology on the degree of fear and the knowledge about cancer? Materials and method. The study was carried out with a sample of 910 adult residents of Wroclaw in south-west Poland. Quota sampling was used. An interview questionnaire was used as the method. Results. Analysis of the data showed a negative image of Polish oncology, according to the study participants: dissatisfaction with both treatment conditions and with access to medical services. Assessment of Polish oncology depends primarily on education, age and economic situation, as well as ‘family history of cancer’, and attitude towards doctors. The lower the rating of Polish oncology, the lower the medical knowledge, and the higher the level of fear of cancer. Conclusions. Negative assessment of Polish oncology perpetuates the fear of cancer in society. There is a need for constant improvement of the quality of medical oncology services, for building public trust in physicians, to fight inequalities in health, and to take into account the lay perspectives in developing strategies to combat cancer.