Library Corner: Health Literacy & Cancer

Written By Michelle Snow

What is health literacy?

Health literacy means using different skills to get, understand, communicate and use information so you can make good decisions about your health. People with low health literacy may have difficulty accessing and navigating the cancer care system and making appropriate health care decisions.

Nearly 60% of Canadian adults and 88% of seniors have trouble accessing, understanding and acting on health information. Below are tips to improve your health literacy when you have a clinical appointment:

  • Write down your questions before your appointment so you don’t need to remember everything.
  • Bring all of your medicines, including vitamins and any over-the-counter or herbal remedies.
  • Take a family member or trusted friend along to help you remember what your health care provider says.
  • Ask questions if you do not understand. If you still are not sure about the message, ask your healthcare provider to say it again using different words.
  • Repeat the health information you get in your own words and ask your health care provider if you have understood.

Looking for reliable health information?

The Princess Margaret Patient & Family Library has information on a variety of health topics, including health literacy.

Visit the library to pick up your free copies today.

Library Hours & Contact

Monday – Thursday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Friday 8:30 am – 4:00 pm
Phone: 416 946 4501 ext. 5383
Email: patienteducation@uhn.on.ca
Website:Princess Margaret Patient & Family Library