Human behavior and cancer. Forget the magic bullet!


A large portion of the death, disease, and disability caused by cancers are preventable. A substantial amount of what is preventable is linked directly to our conditions of living and the way we act within that context. This paper addresses the following three questions: (1) To what extent are behavioral and social "interventions" effective in the prevention, early detection, and control of various health problems, including cancers and their selected risk factors? (2) What are the common elements of those strategies considered to be effective? (3) What actions need to be taken to enhance the benefits of social and behavioral strategies in the future? Behavioral and social strategies will not come in the form of pre-packaged, easily exported "magic bullets," complete with efficacy estimates, for the prevention and control of selected cancers. Effective behavioral and social interventions are dependent ultimately on two phenomena: (1) the competent application of basic principles that have been demonstrated to be effective and are tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of target populations, and (2) an infrastructure that is supportive of behavioral and social research, programs, and training. This article offers specific recommendations for instituting these measures.


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@article{Kreuter1993HumanBA, title={Human behavior and cancer. Forget the magic bullet!}, author={Maitthew W Kreuter}, journal={Cancer}, year={1993}, volume={72 3 Suppl}, pages={996-1001} }