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J Health Commun. 2010;15 Suppl 3:30-45. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2010.522698.

Health and cancer information seeking practices and preferences in Puerto Rico: creating an evidence base for cancer communication efforts.

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  • 1University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Control and Population Sciences, 89 De Diego Ave., San Juan, Puerto Rico 00926.


Effective communication around cancer control requires understanding of population information seeking practices and their cancer-relevant risk behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge. The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) developed by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides surveillance of the nation's investment in cancer communication tracking the effects of the changing communication environment on cancer-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. The University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UPRCCC), the Puerto Rico Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (PRBRFSS), and the NCI implemented HINTS in Puerto Rico in 2009. In this article we describe the health and cancer information seeking behaviors, sources of information, trust in information sources, and experiences seeking information among the population of Puerto Rico. A total of 639 (603 complete and 36 partially complete) interviews were conducted. Nearly one-third of respondents had ever looked for information about health (32.9%) or about cancer (28.1%). The Internet was the most frequently reported source of information. College educated (odds ratio [OR] = 7.6) and females (OR = 2.8) were more likely to seek health information. Similarly, college educated (OR = 5.4) and females (OR = 2.0) were more likely to seek cancer information. Only 32.7% of respondents had ever accessed the Internet, and college educated were more likely to use it (OR = 12.2). Results provide insights into the health and cancer information seeking behaviors and experiences of the population in Puerto Rico and contribute to the evidence base for cancer control planning on the island.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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