613   Visual presentation

Cancer Misconceptions among Singapore Students

Author: Zi Zhao Lieu
The National University of Singapore, Singapore

The widespread prevalence and persistence of misinformation in societies, such as the false belief that the constant use of the mobile phone will increase the rate of brain cancer or the use of herbal therapy are effective in treating cancer. For example, the myths surrounding cancer treatment or prevention, which may hinder proper treatment or prevention decision has led to an increase in the unnecessary public expenditure on research and public-information campaigns aimed at rectifying the situation. The general public, especially the younger generation, largely relies on the media, especially social media, to obtain knowledge and information about cancer. Such information is usually written by non-healthcare specialists and may oversimplify, misrepresent, or overdramatize scientific information. This study examines the level of cancer misconceptions among university students in Singapore and attempts to investigate the relationship between cancer misconceptions and healthcare communication channels. The general public, especially the younger generation, mainly relies on the media, especially social media, to obtain knowledge and information about cancer. Such information is usually written by non-healthcare specialists and may oversimplify, misrepresent, or overdramatize scientific information, which creates misconceptions among the receiver. Our data showed that certain cancer misconceptions do exist among university students, particularly among non-science majors. We also determined that new media and traditional media are both sources for such misconceptions, with the former affecting the tech-savvy younger generation more and the latter affecting the older generation. Furthermore, advertisement of healthcare products loaded with false or exaggerated contents are also a significant source of misconceptions. 

Co-author: Yih Cherng Liou
The National University of Singapore, Singapore

Co-author: Mila Zhang
The National University of Singapore, Singapore

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