Internet use can reduce cancer fatalism

Dec. 11, 2012 at 11:29 PM   |   Comments

URBANA, Ill., Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Many U.S. adults think cancer is a matter of luck or fate, but Internet use increases a positive outlook on cancer prevention and diagnosis, researchers say.

Chul-joo Lee of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jeff Niederdeppe of Cornell University and Derek Freres of the University of Pennsylvania used data from a survey of 2,489 weighted for age, gender, ethnicity, education and census region.

Previous studies have shown that local TV viewing could increase cancer fatalism overtime.

The findings, published in the Journal of Communication, suggested people who use the Internet frequently to acquire health or medical information were less likely than those who did 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, Lee said.

"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 statement. "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."

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