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J Cancer Educ. 2009;24(1):73-9. doi: 10.1080/08858190802664784.

Differences in cancer information-seeking behavior, preferences, and awareness between cancer survivors and healthy controls: a national, population-based survey.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0044, USA.



No research has examined how cancer diagnosis and treatment might alter information source preferences or opinions.


We examined data from 719 cancer survivors (CS group) and 2012 matched healthy controls (NCC group) regarding cancer-related information-seeking behavior, preferences, and awareness from the population-based 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey.


The CS group reported greater consumption of cancer-related information, but the CS and NCC groups did not differ in information source use or preferences. The CS group was more confident of their ability to get cancer information, reported more trust in health care professionals and television as cancer information sources, but evaluated their recent cancer information-seeking experiences more negatively than the NCC group. Awareness of cancer information resources was surprisingly low in both the CS and NCC groups.


Cancer diagnosis and treatment subtly alters cancer information-seeking preferences and experience. However, awareness and use of cancer information resources was relatively low regardless of personal history of cancer.

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