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High demand for cancer info revealed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/12/2016
Radiation therapy © Mark Kostich/Getty Images Radiation therapy

There's so much interest in cancer these days that a third of women and a quarter of men have looked for information about it in the past year, according to a study.

People look for information for many reasons - they may have cancer themselves or have a family history of cancer or are concerned about a symptom.

The University of Otago study, led by Dr Rose Richards of the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, interviewed more than 1000 adults from across New Zealand providing a snapshot of who is searching for cancer information, what they are searching for, and why.

"Most commonly, however, searchers were prompted by a family member or friend receiving a cancer diagnosis," Dr Richards says.

There are important opportunities to provide information to a wider circle of family and friends, so they can support someone experiencing cancer and they may be at risk of depression and anxiety themselves.

The findings highlight the importance of recent government goals to ensure that, by 2018, more New Zealanders have access to easily understood and nationally consistent cancer information resources, she says.

The study, funded by the Cancer Society of New Zealand is titled "Cancer information seeking among adult New Zealanders: a national cross-sectional study".

It is published online in the Journal for Cancer Education.

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