Exploring mixed gendered peer-to-peer conversations as a primary cancer prevention communication strategy among South African youth
Cancer prevention face-to-face conversations are rare, particularly when held between male and female youth. Tailored, audience-specific communication strategies targeting youth are necessary for primary cancer prevention to shape behaviour that could attenuate the spread of leading cancers. This article explores potential effectiveness of using mixed gender face-to-face conversations among university students as a primary prevention communication strategy that could lead to cancer prevention behaviour and promote early detection. Vignettes in qualitative research were constructed to provoke conversations about cancer prevention between a mixed gender group of 21 male and female South African university students. Findings show that the vignettes provoked conversations among participants about self-examination for cancer prevention as well as the types of tests required for common cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer. The discussions revealed that there was a lack of knowledge about self-examination as part of primary cancer prevention. Conversations revealed an openness to discussing self-examination for early detection. Findings from this study provide insight into the potential of using peer-to-peer, face-to-face discussions between mixed genders as a primary prevention communication strategy by health promotion organisations in South Africa and other countries.