Evaluation of Family and Community Social Network Characteristics Among High-Risk Family Members to Improve Cancer-Related Health Behaviors

Memnun Seven

Mark C. Pachucki

Danielle Gould

Youngjoon Bae

Raeann G. LeBlanc

Rachel Walker

family history of cancer, cancer-related health behaviors, social networks, cancer risk
ONF 2023, 50(6), 735-751. DOI: 10.1188/23.ONF.735-751

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of social network characteristics of individuals with a family history of cancer on the use of cancer-related services (e.g., screening, genetic counseling/testing).

Sample & Setting: 170 family members of individuals with the most common hereditary or familial cancers.

Methods & Variables: Data collection occurred between March and September 2021 using an online survey.

Results: Having strong within–immediate family relationships and family members who underwent more screening procedures was associated with increased breast cancer screening, and having more family members with cancer was associated with colorectal cancer screening. Having a large family, having family members who underwent screening for more cancers, and having strong social cohesion among families were associated with an increased rate of genetic testing.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses working with families affected by cancer should focus on strategies to strengthen relationships among family members to improve knowledge of cancer screening and available genetic services.

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