Objective: Health information-seeking behaviors (HISBs) are associated with active participation in cancer care decisions which, in turn, may positively impact health outcomes. The goal of this study was to develop a taxonomy of topics for which post-treatment cancer patients sought information, and to explore HISB patterns by sociodemographic factors and cancer type.
Methods: We examined how health information seeking is associated with social determinants in a survey of 521 post-treatment cancer patients.
Results: Four major topics of interest were found: disease/treatment, self-care management, health services, and work/finance. Assessment of the relationship between social determinants and these four topics showed associations for (1) HISBs on disease/treatment topics decreased with age and increased with education; (2) HISBs on self-care management increased with education and varied by cancer type; (3) HISBs on health services increased with education; and (4) HISBs on work/finance decreased with age and wealth, but increased with debt.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate one pathway through which social determinants may drive communication inequalities, which may result in increased disparities in health outcomes.
Practice implications: Further exploration of the relationship between social determinants and information-seeking among post-treatment cancer patients may contribute to the development of strategies to reduce health disparities.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.