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Cancer blog: Internet Research Builds Cancer Patients' Confidence

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March 3, 2006

Internet Research Builds Cancer Patients' Confidence

Internet Research Builds Cancer Patients' Confidence
Newly diagnosed cancer patients who use the Internet to gather information about their disease have a more positive outlook and are more active participants in their treatment, according to a new Temple University study published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Health Communication.

"This is the first study to look at the relationship between Internet use and patient behaviors," said principal investigator and public health professor Sarah Bass, Ph.D. "We wanted to see if access to readily available information about their condition helped patients to cope with issues such as hair loss and other treatment side effects."

For this study, the researchers recruited patients who called a National Cancer Institute-funded 1-800 number, where trained specialists answered questions about the disease and directed callers to cancer-related resources in their area. Once selected, the 442 participants were broken into "direct user, indirect user and non user" categories based on their Internet usage patterns.

According to Bass, direct and indirect users tended to be females between the ages of 50 and 60 who had graduated from college and made more than $60,000 a year.

During the survey, Bass and her colleagues began to see strong parallels between Internet use and the patients' feelings about their treatment. Those who used the Internet and those who received Internet information from family members or friends were more likely to view their relationship with their doctors as a partnership, and were more comfortable asking questions and challenging treatment alternatives.

"They saw the Internet as a powerful tool that enhanced their decision-making ability," Bass said.

Moreover, Bass and her team were pleasantly surprised by the number of early non-users who after eight weeks turned to the Internet for information. When asked about the change, approximately 75 percent said that either family/friend encouragement or the cancer diagnosis itself prompted them to increase their Internet use.

"They didn't want to feel powerless or have to rely on the doctor to make all of the decisions," Bass said.

Source: Temple univeristy

Janet      



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Do you read all of the blogs published by medicineworld.org? Many of our bloggers are busy keeping you updated on the various health related topics. We publish the following blogs at this time.

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Colon cancer blog: Colon cancer blog is run by Sue and other bloggers. Sue brings a personal touch to the colon cancer blog since her mother died of colon cancer few years ago. She writes about stories, research news and advances in treatment related to colon cancer.

Prostate cancer blog: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer occur in the United state every year. This important blog about prostate cancer is run by Mark and other bloggers. This blog brings news, stories, and other personal observations related to prostate cancer.

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Janet      


Cancer
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

Cancer blog: Internet Research Builds Cancer Patients' Confidence

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