Purpose: Promoting healthy behaviors may reduce the risk of co-morbidities among childhood and young adult (CYA) cancer survivors. Although behavioral interventions are one way to encourage such activities, there is increasing evidence that health media use - particularly health information seeking - also may influence health knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors. The current study explores patterns of healthmedia use among survivors of CYA cancer. Our focus is on survivors who smoke and thus are at even greater risk of co-morbidities. Methods: We analyzed data from the Partnership for Health-2 study, a web-based smoking cessation intervention, to examine the prevalence of and factors associated with health media use (N=329). Results: Nearly two thirds (65.3%) of CYA survivors who smoke reported infrequent or no online health information seeking. Many reported never reading health sections of newspapers or general magazines (46.2%) or watching health segments on local television news (32.3%). Factors associated with health media use include education and employment, cancer-related distress, and smoking quit attempts. Conclusions: Health information engagement is low among CYA survivors who smoke, particularly active seeking of health information online. Population subgroups differ in their media use patterns; some of these differences reflect communication inequalities, which have the potential to exacerbate health disparities. Clinicians have an opportunity to guide CYA survivors towards useful and reliable information sources. This guidance could help survivors fulfill their unmet information and support needs and may be particularly important for less educated survivors and other underserved populations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by grants 5 R01-CA106914-05 and K05-CA124415 from the National Cancer Institute. Funding support for R.H.N. was provided through the National Cancer Institute by the Harvard Education Program in Cancer Prevention (5 R25-CA057711). The authors would like to thank Nancy Klockson for her assistance in manuscript preparation, as well as the participating survivorship programs: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Princess Margaret Hospital, The Hospital for Sick Children, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Partners HealthCare.
- Childhood cancer survivors
- Information seeking
- Media exposure
- Smoking cessation
- Young adult cancer survivors