Cancer Prevention and Early Detection in Military Nurses


Name: Stephanie Condron

Rank: Capt, USAF

Organization: Duke University Medical Center

Performance Site: Duke University Medical Center School of Nursing, Durham, NC

Year Published: 1993

Abstract Status: Initial


Cancer is anticipated to exceed heart disease by the year 2000 as the leading cause of death in the United States. Many cancers appear to be preventable, while others have a high survival or cure rate when detected and treated early. For this reason, the National Cancer Institute has proposed that cancer mortality be reduced by 50% by the year 2000. To this end, guidelines have been published by the American Cancer Society (ACS) for the prevention and early detection of cancer as a means of decreasing the incidence, mortality, and morbidity associated with cancer. Despite a wealth of information and attention from the media, studies show that many Americans, including physicians and nurses, do not practice recommended cancer prevention and early detection behaviors (National Health Interview Survey Cancer Control Supplement, 1987; US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1975; Healthy People 2000, 1991). In addition, only a small number of studies have specifically assessed health professionals' assimilation of cancer prevention and early detection behaviors into their own lifestyles (Germino, 1992; McMillian, 1990). The purpose of this study is to ascertain the extent to which active duty military nurses are in compliance with the American Cancer Society's recommendations for cancer prevention and early detection. Specifically, this study will address three questions: (1) is there a relationship between compliance with the ACS guidelines and selected demographic variables, (2) what are the differences and commonalties in cancer prevention and early detection between active duty Army, Air Force, and Navy nurses, and (3) do military nurses who practice cancer prevention and early detection behaviors themselves use this knowledge in teaching patients? This descriptive study will survey approximately 11,000 active duty Army, Air Force, and Navy nurses, using the Modified McMillian Health Habits Assessment (MMHHA) questionnaire. The sample size includes all active duty nurses not deployed to hostile areas. Descriptive and inferential statistics will be used to analyze the data collected. Data will be analyzed for each cancer prevention and early detection behavior for the military as a whole and for each branch of the service. This data set will be the largest and most comprehensive data set available on cancer prevention and early detection behaviors in nurses, and the only data set available for military nurses (male and female) across the three services.