Barriers to seeking help for skin cancer detection in Rural Australia

Kate M. Fennell, Kimberley Martin, Carlene J. Wilson, Camilla Trenerry, Greg Sharplin, James Dollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explores rural South Australians’ barriers to help-seeking for skin cancer detection. A total of 201 randomly selected rural adults (18–94 years, 66% female) were presented with a skin-cancer-related scenario via telephone and were asked the extent to which various barriers would impede their help-seeking, based on an amended version of the Barriers to Help-Seeking Scale. Older (≥63 years) and less educated participants endorsed barriers more strongly than their younger, more educated counterparts in the following domains; “Concrete barriers and distrust of caregivers”, “Emotional control”, “Minimising problem and Normalisation”, “Need for control and self-reliance” (every domain other than “Privacy”). Socioeconomic disadvantage, gender, and farmer status did not predict stronger overall barriers, but some gender and occupation-related differences were detected at the item level. Farmers were also more likely to endorse the “Minimising problem and normalization” domain than their non-farmer working rural counterparts. Widely endorsed barriers included the tendency to minimise the problem, a desire to remain in control/not be influenced by others, reluctance to show emotion or complain, and having concerns about privacy or waiting times.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2017


  • Barrier
  • Cancer
  • Help
  • Help-seeking
  • Physician-patient relations
  • Psychosocial
  • Rural
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Fennell, K. M., Martin, K., Wilson, C. J., Trenerry, C., Sharplin, G., & Dollman, J. (2017). Barriers to seeking help for skin cancer detection in Rural Australia. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 6(2), [19].