Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer patients turning to mass media, non-experts for info

Date:
February 24, 2014
Source:
University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
Summary:
The increasing use of expensive medical imaging procedures in the US like positron emission tomography scans is being driven, in part, by patient decisions made after obtaining information from lay media and non-experts, and not from health care providers. The study sought to understand what drives cancer patients to seek such inappropriate procedures, to help inform interventions or policies to stem their overuse. The authors theorized that exposure to cancer-related information may play a role. They suggested that the potential benefit of new medical technologies receives substantial attention in the lay media and may promote positive attitudes toward the role of imaging technology such as PET.

The increasing use of expensive medical imaging procedures in the U.S. like positron emission tomography (PET) scans is being driven, in part, by patient decisions made after obtaining information from lay media and non-experts, and not from health care providers.

That is the result from a three-year-long analysis of survey data, and is published in the article , "Associations between Cancer-Related Information Seeking and Receiving PET Imaging for Routine Cancer Surveillance -- An Analysis of Longitudinal Survey Data," appearing in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Andy S. Tan, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow with the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, is the lead author of the study. Co-authors are Laura Gibson, Ph.D.; Hanna M. Zafar, MD; Stacy W. Gray, MD; Robert C. Hornik, Ph.D.; and Katrina Armstrong, MD.

Data for this analysis were obtained from a longitudinal cohort study comprising three annual mailed surveys between 2006 and 2008 and completed by patients diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancers. Over 2,000 individuals participated in the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute.

"Clinical guidelines do not recommend PET for post-treatment surveillance among asymptomatic cancer survivors," explains Dr. Tan and the study's other authors. "Such procedures may result in unnecessary radiation exposure, anxiety, and morbidity associated with false-positive and false-negative results."

The study sought to understand what drives cancer patients to seek such inappropriate procedures, to help inform interventions or policies to stem their overuse. The authors theorized that exposure to cancer-related information may play a role. They suggested that the potential benefit of new medical technologies receives substantial attention in the lay media and may promote positive attitudes toward the role of imaging technology such as PET.

The study looked at two variables: information seeking from non-clinician sources (e.g., TV, radio, books, brochures, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, family members, friends, co-workers, support groups and other non-expert sources) and patient-clinician information engagement (e.g., treating physicians, other physicians or health professionals).

They found that seeking information from nonmedical sources was predictive of subsequent reported PET scan use while patient-clinician information engagement was not. They noted that the overall use of PET scans for routine surveillance seems modest (10-11% of those cancer patients surveyed), however this level of PET overuse may be problematic at the population level because of the large and growing number of cancer survivors.

"Our findings may have important implications for cancer survivors, health care providers, and health policy in the practice of advanced imaging use for routine follow-up," the authors conclude, while raising a follow-up question: Are PET promotional materials used by health care facilities misstating the benefits of PET given that the use of PET imaging for routine cancer surveillance is inconsistent with clinical practice guidelines for most malignancies? "Policies or professional guidelines may be necessary to ensure that health care facilities convey accurate and reliable facts about the appropriate forms of cancer follow-up to patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. S. L. Tan, L. Gibson, H. M. Zafar, S. W. Gray, R. C. Hornik, K. Armstrong. Associations between Cancer-Related Information Seeking and Receiving PET Imaging for Routine Cancer Surveillance--An Analysis of Longitudinal Survey Data. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2014; DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0999

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. "Cancer patients turning to mass media, non-experts for info." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224140441.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. (2014, February 24). Cancer patients turning to mass media, non-experts for info. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224140441.htm
University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. "Cancer patients turning to mass media, non-experts for info." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224140441.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins