Internet use can reduce fatalistic view of cancer

December 10, 2012, International Communication Association

Many Americans have fatalistic views on cancer prevention—they believe that getting cancer is a matter of luck or fate. Recent research, published in the Journal of Communication, found that people who use the internet to inquire about their health are more likely to have a positive outlook on cancer prevention and diagnosis.

Chul-joo Lee, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jeff Niederdeppe, Cornell University, and Derek Freres, University of Pennsylvania, published in the Journal of Communication their findings from a nationally representative survey of adults between the ages of 40 and 70. Conducted longitudinally over the course of a year, the survey collected 2,489 cases and were weighted for age, gender, ethnicity, education and census region. Previous studies have shown that local TV viewing can increase cancer fatalism overtime. This study is the first to examine , and the results were promising.

The findings suggested that people who use the Internet frequently to acquire health or medical information are less likely than those who do not use the Internet for such purposes to hold cancer fatalism over time. More importantly, the research showed that Internet use reduced cancer fatalism among less educated and less health-knowledgeable people to a greater extent than among more educated and more knowledgeable people.

"Reducing cancer fatalism, especially among people with , is arguably one of the most important public health goals in the nation," Lee said. "Studying the effect of Internet use on cancer fatalism is important, considering that the Internet has become a new, very crucial source of health information for the American public these days. These findings have important implications since we showed that the Internet may be a very effective channel of especially for people with low socioeconomic status."

Explore further: Cancer screening rates lower among those with fatalistic attitudes

More information: Socioeconomic Disparities in Fatalistic Beliefs About Cancer Prevention, By Chul-joo Lee, Jeff Niederdeppe and Derek Freres; Journal of Communication, DOI 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01683.x

Related Stories

Cancer screening rates lower among those with fatalistic attitudes

September 27, 2011
Even if health care is free, colorectal cancer screening rates among those without financial means are still low, and results of a new study suggest that may be due to an idea psychologists call cancer fatalism.

States that support access to health information can decrease colon cancer deaths

September 26, 2012
Despite medical advances in colon cancer screening and treatment, people with a lower socioeconomic status remain at a higher risk of dying from colon cancer. A new study in The Milbank Quarterly finds that states and communities ...

Ethnic disparities in breast cancer survival remain despite socioeconomic similarities

October 30, 2012
Disparities in survival after breast cancer persisted across racial/ethnic groups even after researchers adjusted for multiple demographics, such as patients' education and the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood in ...

Recommended for you

New therapeutic gel shows promise against cancerous tumors

February 21, 2018
Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and NC State have created an injectable gel-like scaffold that can hold combination chemo-immunotherapeutic drugs and deliver them locally to tumors in a sequential manner. The results ...

Five novel genetic changes linked to pancreatic cancer risk

February 21, 2018
In what is believed to be the largest pancreatic cancer genome-wide association study to date, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, and collaborators from over 80 other ...

Kinase inhibitor larotrectinib shows durable anti-tumor abilities

February 21, 2018
Three simultaneous safety and efficacy studies of the drug larotrectinib reported an overall response rate of 75 percent for patients ages four months to 76 years with 17 different cancer diagnoses. All patients had tumors ...

Research could change how doctors treat leukemia and other cancers fed by fat

February 21, 2018
Obesity and cancer risk have a mysterious relationship, with obesity increasing the risk for 13 types of cancer. For some cancers—including pediatric cancers—obesity affects survival rates, which are lower for people ...

New technique predicts gene resistance to cancer treatments

February 21, 2018
Yale School of Public Health researchers have developed a new method to predict likely resistance paths to cancer therapeutics, and a methodology to apply it to one of the most frequent cancer-causing genes.

Similarities found in cancer initiation in kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas

February 21, 2018
Recent research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrated that mature cells in the stomach sometimes revert back to behaving like rapidly dividing stem cells. Now, the researchers have found that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.