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Predictors of High eHealth Literacy in Primary Lung Cancer Survivors


Lung cancer survivors are likely to have low health literacy which is an independent risk factor for poorer health outcomes. The eHealth literacy in lung cancer survivors has not been reported. The purposes of this study were to determine self-perceived eHealth literacy levels in lung cancer survivors and to explore predictors of higher eHealth literacy. A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada. Survivors completed a survey that collected demographic, self-perceived eHealth literacy (using the eHealth Literacy Scale), and quality of life information. Tumor and treatment details were extracted from medical records. Demographic data was summarized using descriptive statistics and compared against those with high and low eHealth literacy using Fisher’s exact test. Eighty-three survivors were enrolled over 7 months. Median age was 71 years (range 44–89); 41 survivors (49 %) were male. Forty-six (55 %) survivors had some college education or higher. Most had access to eResources (78 %) via computer, Internet, or smartphone. Fifty-seven (69 %) scored 5 or greater (7 = excellent) on the overall health scale. Twenty-eight (33.7 %) perceived themselves to have high eHealth literacy. There was no statistically significant correlation between eHealth literacy groups and age (p = 1.00), gender (p = 0.82), living situation (p = 1.00), overall health (p = 1.00), overall quality of life (QoL) (p = 1.00), or histology (p = 0.74). High eHealth literacy correlated with the level of education received (p = 0.003) and access to eResources (p = 0.004). The self-perceived eHealth literacy of lung cancer survivors is generally low.

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Permission to use the eHEALS tool was granted by its authors.

Conflict of Interest

Robin Milne, Martine Puts, Janet Papadakos, Lisa Le, Victoria Milne, Andrew Hope, Pamela Catton, and Meredith Giuliani declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Meredith E. Giuliani.

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Milne, R.A., Puts, M.T.E., Papadakos, J. et al. Predictors of High eHealth Literacy in Primary Lung Cancer Survivors. J Canc Educ 30, 685–692 (2015).

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  • eHealth literacy
  • Health literacy
  • Lung cancer
  • eHEALS
  • Survivor
  • Patient education