Information support for cancer survivors

Bradford W. Hesse, Neeraj K. Arora, Ellen Burke Beckjord, Lila J. Finney Rutten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Survivors' information-seeking behavior has traditionally been documented through analysis of inquiries to hotlines and cancer information services. Data from these self-selected inquiries tend to be restricted to a time around diagnosis, and to those populations possessing the wherewithal and motivation to seek information actively. The current study used data from a general population survey to assess 1) the prevalence of information-seeking behavior among survivors in the general population, 2) characteristics of seekers versus nonseekers, 3) ratings of information-seeking experience, and 4) actual versus preferred sources of information. Data were analyzed from the 2005 administration of the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). HINTS is a cross-sectional, random digit dial telephone survey, weighted to provide estimates for the general population. Nearly half of all Americans (48.7%) indicated that they have looked for cancer information from 1 source or another. Percentages were highest for those who have been touched by cancer (63.1% of cancer survivors and 54.6% of those with family histories) and lowest for those with no cancer history (27.6% of those with no history). Quality concerns topped the list of information-seeking experiences for those recalling the last time they looked. Patterns of information-seeking revealed a discrepancy between preferred and actual source when tracked over years since diagnosis. Informationseeking is prevalent among cancer survivors and does not diminish over time. Prescriptions are given for reengineering the information environment to improve long-term outcomes for survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2529-2540
Number of pages12
Issue number11 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Cancer survivors
  • Consumer health information
  • Information seeking
  • National survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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