Purpose: Cancer continues to be a life-threatening disease and is a preventable disease. To improve cancer preventive behaviors is important to control cancer among older rural adults who are isolated from major health care services. The purpose of this study was to identify the degrees of health literacy, cancer knowledge, and cancer preventive behaviors and to explore the impact of health literacy and cancer knowledge on cancer preventive behaviors among older rural adults. Methods: A cross-sectional correlational study was used to examine a total of 95 older community-dwelling adults. Data were collected between June and October, 2016 with a convenience sample in rural areas located in U city. Results: Multiple regression analysis revealed that 33.7% of the variance in cancer preventive behaviors was explained by health literacy and cancer knowledge. Health literacy and cancer knowledge were significant predictors of cancer preventive behaviors. Conclusion: Among older rural adults, inadequate health literacy and low cancer knowledge predicted lower cancer preventive behaviors. A better understanding about older rural adults with poor health literacy and cancer knowledge could facilitate the development of intervention strategies to reduce health inequalities.
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