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Colorectal cancer prevention: Perspectives of key players from social networks in a low-income rural US region.

  • Author(s): Schoenberg, Nancy
  • Eddens, Kathryn
  • Jonas, Adam
  • Snell-Rood, Claire
  • Studts, Christina
  • Broder-Oldach, Benjamin
  • Katz, Mira
  • et al.

Social networks influence health behavior and health status. Within social networks, key players often influence those around them, particularly in traditionally underserved areas like the Appalachian region in the USA. From a total sample of 787 Appalachian residents, we identified and interviewed 10 key players in complex networks, asking them what comprises a key player, their role in their network and community, and ideas to overcome and increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Key players emphasized their communication skills, resourcefulness, and special occupational and educational status in the community. Barriers to CRC screening included negative perceptions of the colonoscopy screening procedure, discomfort with the medical system, and misinformed perspectives on screening. Ideas to improve screening focused on increasing awareness of womens susceptibility to CRC, providing information on different screening tests, improving access, and the key role of health-care providers and key players themselves. We provide recommendations to leverage these vital community resources.

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