What’s in Between the Lines: Assessing the Readability, Understandability, and Actionability in Breast Cancer Survivorship Print Materials

Pearman D. Parker, Arpan V. Prabhu, L. Joseph Su, Kristin K. Zorn, Carolyn J. Greene, Kristie B. Hadden, Jean C. McSweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Educational print materials for young women breast cancer survivors (YBCS) are supplemental tools used in patient teaching. However, the readability of the text coupled with how well YBCS understand or act upon the material are rarely explored. The purpose of this study was to assess the readability, understandability, and actionability of commonly distributed breast cancer survivorship print materials. We used an environmental scan approach to obtain a sample of breast cancer survivorship print materials available in outpatient oncology clinics in the central region of a largely rural Southern state. The readability analyses were completed using the Flesch-Kincaid (F-K), Fry Graph Readability Formula (Fry), and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG). Understandability and actionability were analyzed using Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool for Printable Materials (PEMAT-P). The environmental scan resulted in a final sample of 14 materials. The mean readability of the majority of survivorship materials was “difficult,” but the majority scored above the recommended 70% in both understandability and actionability. The importance of understandability and actionability may outweigh readability results in cancer education survivorship material. While reading grade level cannot be dismissed all together, we surmise that patient behavior may hinge more on other factors such as understandability and actionability. Personalized teaching accompanying print material may help YBCS comprehend key messages and promote acting upon specific tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Actionability
  • Breast cancer survivorship
  • Patient education
  • Print materials
  • Readability
  • Understandability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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