Internet research builds cancer patients' confidence

Okay! Keep that web-based info on cancer out there. It’s good for building confidence, according to a Temple U study.

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.

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.