Cancer fears keep Ontarians from screening: study

Nov 5, 2012 | News

By Alex Lambert

In an effort to help moderate Ontarians’ fear of a cancer diagnosis, the Canadian Cancer Society launched a campaign today called The FearLess Project.

The website launched Monday, and a survey on Ontarians’ biggest cancer-related fears was conducted to coincide with the website’s release.

The society commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct the survey, which found that 70 per cent of Ontarians fear cancer more than a number of other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

It also found that 27 per cent of Ontarians say that fear of doctors’ diagnoses acts as a barrier for them getting cancer testing and screening.

Susan Horvath, vice president of leadership philanthropy for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Ontario Division, told Humber News that the main motivation for this campaign was to better inform Canadians about the society’s services providing the support needed to encourage people to get tested for cancer.

“There are a lot of people who actually aren’t aware of all of the services that the Canadian Cancer Society provides,” Horvath said.

“By having this kind of a website, we see it as a way to inform the public about what is available, why they shouldn’t have that fear or how we can help alleviate that fear, and in doing so, share some really valuable information with them that will help them,” she said.

The website  prompts users to share their biggest cancer-related fear, and after typing a fear into the dialogue box, it directs them to services and information tailored to that specific anxiety.

The website provides resources and information on support programs including peer support, which allows visitors to speak with people who have specific types of cancer.

“We want more people to be aware that that help exists,” Horvath said. “That is the motivator. That we know that people need more information, need reliable information, and sometimes need somebody to talk to.”

The campaign is being promoted in a number of ways, including emails, social media and print advertising.

There will also be an exhibit for The FearLess Project which will be a presentation of the cancer fears that have been recorded on the website.

The display will be seen at Brookfield Place in Toronto on Nov. 29.