Mind the Cancer Screening Gap Between the Medical and Laypersons' Languages

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Lea HAGOEL, Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Israel
Paula FEDER-BUBIS, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Acceptance of the medical rationale for colorectal cancer screening does not guarantee test-adherence, but its absence may withhold the undertaking of the recommended tests. This acceptance often entails clinical knowledge, but a significant knowledge gap in CRC screening rationale and principles separates between doctors and lay individuals invited to test. This gap consists of unique language use, as well as concepts, perceptions, and assumptions. The paper highlights this gap, which can be bridged by a two-way translation channel, with examples based on several studies carried out in Israel over the last two decades.

We analyze how the major medical distinction between a diagnostic and a screening indication to undergo medical tests or procedures is taken for granted by medical personnel on one hand, yet, most often, poorly understood by laypersons seeking medical help, on the other. Another example is the assignment of medical meanings to everyday-life words in the relevant spoken language, with straightforward lay connotation(s). Additionally, lay persons' daily use of medical terminology, often does not imply their deep understanding of the issue, but rather the mere citation, in a slogan-like manner. These discrepancies lead to the conclusion that the premise of having a common spoken language does not guarantee a mutual understanding in general and in the delivery of health care in particular. In order for health care providers to address the issue, we propose to map (potential) misunderstandings using mutual, non-judgmental, reflexive tools such as questions, dialogue, information exchange and general clarifications in a direct exchange with lay persons.