Search Your Cancer Away

Cancer fatalism lower among online health information seekers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) If you’re reading this article, chances are you have a healthier attitude about cancer prevention. That is, you don’t link cancer with luck and/or fate. In other words, you're not a fatalistic about cancer.

A recent study has found that people who go to the Internet for health information – people like you – have a better, more realistic outlook on cancer.

You’re more upbeat about cancer prevention and diagnosis than folks who don’t go online for health news.

"Keep reading about health online."

Several researchers collaborated on this study - Chul-joo Lee of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jeff Niederdeppe of Cornell University and Derek Freres of the University of Pennsylvania. They surveyed nearly 2,500 people between the ages of 40 and 70 over a year’s period of time. In analyzing the results, age, gender, education, ethnicity and geographic location were considered.

People who go online for health and medical information are less fatalistic about cancer than are people who don’t seek information on the Internet.

This finding seemed to be particularly true for people with less education and less knowledge about health.

"Reducing cancer fatalism, especially among people with low socioeconomic status, is arguably one of the most important public health goals in the nation," Lee said in a press release.

He concluded, “These findings have important implications since we showed that the Internet may be a very effective channel of health communication especially for people with low socioeconomic status."

This study was published in the Journal of Communication.

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Review Date: 
December 12, 2012
Last Updated:
December 19, 2012