Purpose: To evaluate rates, predictors, and barriers to use of the Internet to obtain cancer information among a cohort of cancer patients at an urban county hospital. Patients and Methods: Of 208 cancer patients approached, 200 patients completed a structured interview study examining Internet use, perceptions of the accuracy of Internet information, and barriers to use. Results: Only 10% of participants reported using the Internet themselves to obtain cancer information. Another 21% reported exposure to Internet information through proxies. The most common barrier to Internet use cited was lack of Internet access, with 44% reporting that they would use the Internet to obtain cancer information if they had Internet access. Younger age and more years of formal education were significantly associated with Internet use, although race and income were not. Less education, African American race, and female sex were associated with lower estimates of the accuracy of Internet information. Fewer years of formal education was associated with increased likelihood of reporting confusion after reading Internet information. Conclusion: Very few cancer patients in this study of a cohort of generally disadvantaged individuals used the Internet themselves to obtain cancer information, although many more desired to do so. Significant opportunities for Web-based interventions aimed at improving cancer care outcomes in this population of cancer patients exist. However, further study will be needed to determine how to make such intervention accessible, trustworthy, and understandable to the disadvantaged.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research