First insights on the validity of the concept of Cancer Literacy: A test in a sample of Ticino (Switzerland) residents

Nicola Diviani, Peter Johannes Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To develop a measure of Cancer Literacy and have a first insight into the validity of the concept. Methods: A measure of Cancer Literacy was developed and administered to a sample of Ticino (Switzerland) residents (N= 639). Internal consistency, test-retest reliability and construct validity of the measure were assessed. Results: The Cancer Literacy Score (CLS) showed acceptable internal consistency and 4-week test-retest reliability. Independent-samples t-tests and one-way ANOVAs confirmed that women, Swiss citizens, people with higher educational levels, people with a medical qualification, and people who had played an active role in the cancer experience of a family member or a friend presented significantly higher CLS. Correlational analyses indicated a more positive attitude towards screening participation and engagement in health-promoting behaviours in people with higher levels of Cancer Literacy. Conclusions and practice implications: The Cancer Literacy scale provides us with evidence of the validity of our conceptual attempt to go in the direction of a context- and content-specific concept of health literacy. Despite some limitations and the need for further refinement before it can be applied on a larger scale, the scale already offers Ticino researchers and public health workers a comprehensive measure of cancer knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-159
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Cancer
  • Health literacy
  • Measure development
  • Validation


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