Development of a health literacy screening tool for use in patients with cancer

  • Geoffrey Saunders

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


Abstract:The University of ManchesterGeoffrey SaundersM.Phil ThesisDevelopment of a health literacy screening tool for use in patients with cancer.September 2011Background: The objective of this study is the development of a cancer specific health literacy screening tool and to compare it with the Newest Vital Sign (NVS)Methods: Following a pilot study to develop a six point cancer tool, 350 patients attending outpatient clinics at the Christie Hospital were invited to self-complete the tool under development and the NVS.Findings: A total of 214 patients participated. Mean score achieved on the cancer tool and the NVS were: 4.35 (SD 1.55) and 4.39 (SD 1.91) respectively. 45.8% patients scored 4 or less on the cancer tool; 38% patients scored 4 or less on the NVS. No significant differences were seen in gender, age or educational achievement on scores achieved with the cancer tool, however age but neither gender nor educational achievement were significant factors for scores achieved with the NVS. Internal consistency was good for the NVS (Cronbach's alpha 0.752) and adequate for the cancer tool (Cronbach's alpha 0.578).Discussion: Although the cancer tool does usefully identify cancer patients at risk of poor health literacy, further refinement is required to ensure a closer comparison to the NVS. This study demonstrates that the NVS is a useful tool for self administration.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDarren Ashcroft (Supervisor) & Peter Noyce (Supervisor)


  • cancer
  • health literacy screening tool

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