Background: This statewide survey examined differences in cancer-related knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors between racial and socioeconomic groups in select counties in Indiana. Methods: A stratified random sample of 7,979 people aged 18–75 who lived in one of 34 Indiana counties with higher cancer mortality rates than the state average, and were seen at least once in the past year in a statewide health system were mailed surveys. Results: Completed surveys were returned by 970 participants, yielding a 12% response rate. Black respondents were less likely to perceive they were at risk for cancer and less worried about getting cancer. Individuals most likely to perceive that they were unlikely to get cancer were more often black, with low incomes (less than $20,000) or high incomes ($50,000 or more), or less than a high school degree. Black women were greater than six times more likely to be adherent to cervical cancer screening. Higher income was associated with receiving a sigmoidoscopy in the last 5 years and a lung scan in the past year. Those with the highest incomes were more likely to engage in physical activity. Both income and education were inversely related to smoking. Conclusions: Socioeconomic and racial disparities were observed in health behaviors and receipt of cancer screening. Black individuals had less worry about cancer. Impact: Understanding populations for whom cancer disparities exist and geographic areas where the cancer burden is disproportionately high is essential to decision-making about research priorities and the use of public health resources.
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