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J Health Commun. 2005 Apr-May;10(3):199-208.

Cancer information needs in rural areas.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


Although cancer presents obstacles for all who experience it, persons in rural communities must negotiate additional challenges. This study determined the cancer information (CI) needs and the CI-seeking behavior and preferences among rural-dwelling persons. Patients (N = 801) = 50 years of age seen in 36 rural Kansas primary care practices completed a Cancer Care Information Needs Survey (CCINS); physicians completed a cancer resource knowledge and preference survey. Of the 801 patients, 184 (23%) reported a CI need. Of these 184 patients, 45% reported either not discussing cancer or having insufficient discussion time with their physicians; 44% needed more information after consulting their physician. Patients more likely to report a CI need were young, female, Internet users, persons with a prior cancer diagnosis, and persons seeing male physicians or physicians in group/multispecialty practices. Patients and physicians were unfamiliar with services provided by national cancer organizations. Physicians are a primary CI source; however, patients who need CI report insufficient cancer discussion time with their physician and need more CI after consulting their physician. Promoting access to national CI sources could bridge the CI needs gap that exists in rural areas currently.

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