29 Jul Most Patients With Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Don’t Use Social Media For Advice
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lauren P. Wallner, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Online communication tools like email and social media could be used to support patients through their cancer treatment decision making and ongoing care. Yet, we know very little about whether and how newly diagnosed cancer patients use these tools and whether using online communication influences patients appraisals of their treatment decision making process.
We surveyed 2,460 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer as part of the iCanCare Study about their use of email, texting, social media and web-based support groups following their diagnosis. Our findings suggest that women who more often used these online communication tools deliberated more about their surgical treatment and were more satisfied with their treatment decision. However, the use of social media in this diverse population was lower than we expected (12%), and was less common in older women, those with less education, and Black and Latina women.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our study highlights an unmet need in patients for more decisional support when they are going through breast cancer treatment. While leveraging social media and other online tools to better support patients through their cancer treatment decision making process is promising, barriers currently exist in the use of these tools which makes reaching all patients more difficult.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We know very little about the content and quality of information patients are finding and sharing online, who they are communicating with, and how they are using this information to guide their treatment and care decisions. Future research should focus on understanding these details so that we can best harness the potential of social media and other online tools to improve patient care experiences.
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