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Type: Journal article
Title: Public perceptions of cancer clusters, associated events, and appropriate institutional response
Author: Eliott, J.
Olver, I.
Citation: Cancer Forum, 2013; 37(1):93-99
Publisher: Cancer Council Australia
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 0311-306X
Statement of
Jaklin A. Eliott and Ian N. Olver
Abstract: Cancer clusters are high-profile public health issues prompting public anxiety, but little is known regarding public perceptions of cancer clusters and the influences on them. In this article, we analyse public perceptions of cancer clusters and associated events within the Australian public, providing evidence-based recommendations for policy. We conducted and thematically analysed six focus-groups (four varying by age and education levels; two from occupations publicly associated with cancer clusters) during 2010 (total = 53 participants). Participants consistently discussed cancer clusters in reference to well-known events perceived as involving organisational concealment of information to ensure profit. Cancer clusters were associated with particular work practices or environments, but concern typically centred on perceived personal relevance. Participants deemed prompt, independent and transparent organisational investigation of cancer clusters as mandatory, nonetheless noting a tension between a responsibility to ensure workplace or public safety and to set appropriate fiscal limits to investigations. Perceived difficulties however, in ‘disproving’ cancer clusters and researching potentially contributory practices or products ultimately sustained enduring doubts about public safety.
Rights: Copyright status unknown
Published version:;dn=399139433336778;res=IELHEA
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Public Health publications

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