EHealth literacy in patients with cancer and their usage of web-based information
Our aim was to learn more about the association between the sources of information cancer patients and caregivers use and their eHealth literacy.
We distributed a standardized questionnaire among participants of a lecture program on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Among 182 attendants, the Internet was the third most important source of information (57%), preceded by the oncologist (67%) and print media (61%). Print media was associated with female participants and web-based information with younger ones. Regarding eHealth literacy, more than half (58.5%) had an above average eHEALS score. Nevertheless, the biggest concern was not being able to differentiate between reliable and not reliable websites. The correlation between a high eHealth literacy and regular search of web-based cancer information was significant (p < 0.001).
The number of people using the Internet as a source of cancer information has increased over the past years and will rise in the future. However, only half of the population has the knowledge and capability to access and differentiate the massive web-based data. Improving eHealth literacy within the public will expand the knowledge of regular patients and help them become a well-informed and equal partner in decision making.
KeywordsCancer eHealth literacy Health information Internet
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. According to the rules of the ethics committee at the University Hospital of the J.W. Goethe University at Frankfurt/Main, due to anonymity no ethics vote was necessary.
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