Thursday, June 26, 2008

Study: Breast Cancer Patients With Greater Need Seek More Information Online

Study: Breast Cancer Patients With Greater Need Seek More Information

Source: Pharma Executive

Jun 18, 2008

MADISON, Wis., June 18 (AScribe Newswire) -- Patients with more concerns
about their breast cancer are heavier users of online information,
according to a new study conducted by the University of
Wisconsin-Madison Center for Excellence in Cancer Communications
Research funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Additionally, those in greater need were more likely to seek
experiential information, such as stories about other patients or how to
be a better health care consumer, as compared to more science-based

This is the first study to take a comprehensive look at what
psychological characteristics predict online information seeking among
underserved breast cancer patients. The study sample included 144
recently diagnosed, low-income, rural breast cancer patients in
Wisconsin who were referred by their health care providers to a study in
which they were provided a free computer, Internet access and training
on how to use an online health education and support system called the
Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS) program, a
computer-based health education and support system. Surveys were
administered before group access, and use data about how women used
different types of information within the system were also collected.

Many thought that cancer patients who were better off would be more
likely to use resources such as the Internet to cope with their illness,
yet our research indicates that underserved patients with greater
psychological needs are more likely to take advantage of the Internet as
a source of cancer information. Our findings support efforts to expand
access to Web-based cancer information resources for vulnerable
populations who could benefit from this support, says Bret Shaw,
assistant professor of life sciences communication and lead author of
the study. It is also interesting to learn that experiential information
such as personal stories from other patients may be among the content
that patients want most.

The results of the study are published in the June issue of the Journal
of Health Communication.

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