Perspectives of cancer prevention and control resources from stakeholders in rural southern Illinois

Aaron J. Kruse-Diehr, Marquita W. Lewis-Thames, Eric Wiedenman, Aimee James, Lynne Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Rural residents have a higher cancer burden than urban residents, which is likely related to multiple socioecological factors. This study sought to investigate the perspectives of a diverse set of rural stakeholders regarding access to cancer prevention and control resources in rural southern Illinois. Methods: Stakeholders were recruited from counties in southern Illinois and included residents (cancer survivors or caregivers), leaders of community-based organizations with health-related missions, and health care providers. Individual interviews and focus groups assessed recommended cancer prevention, control, and treatment resources; helpfulness of regional resources; and needed resources. The research team used an iterative approach to thematic analysis wherein codes were derived inductively and refined repeatedly to reveal overarching themes. Findings: Forty-four stakeholders reported challenges to health care access (eg, travel distance, financial burdens, and poor quality of care) and limited access to supportive care services (lack of caregiver support and “spotty” area resources). To mitigate these barriers, local residents used a combination of individual (self-reliance and adaptive measures) and organizational (patient navigation and financial services) approaches. Finally, stakeholders reported multiple forms of cancer control and prevention communication, including formal discussions with health care providers and various types of informal social support (eg, friends and family). Conclusions: Stakeholders experienced barriers to cancer prevention and control often mitigated by a reliance on personal adaptations, nonclinical organizational supports, and informal support systems. While resources remain minimal in southern Illinois, researchers and practitioners must make efforts to leverage existing community organizations and social networks to improve cancer outcomes in this region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-408
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Rural Health Association.


  • Illinois
  • cancer control
  • cancer prevention
  • qualitative research
  • rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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