Internet use leads cancer patients to be active health care consumers

Chul Joo Lee, Stacy Wang Gray, Nehama Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study examines whether cancer patients' Internet use leads them to prefer a more active role in medical decision making and whether the effects of Internet use on active participation preferences vary according to patients' education levels. Methods: Randomly drawn sample (N=2013) from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, comprised of breast, prostate, and colon cancer patients, completed mail surveys in the fall of 2006 (overall response rate. =64%). Of 2013 baseline respondents, 85% agreed to participate in follow-up survey (N=1703). Of those who agreed, 76% (N=1293) completed follow-up surveys in the fall of 2007. Results: Cancer patients' Internet use for health information at wave one led them to want to be more active participants in medical decision making at wave two (β=.06, p<.05). This applied to all cancer patients regardless of their education levels. Conclusion: Higher levels of Internet use among cancer patients may lead patients to want to be more actively involved in medical decision making. Practice Implications: Considering the beneficial effects of patients' active participation in medical decision making, it will be worthwhile for health educators to recommend Internet use to cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S63-S69
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was supported by Grant Number 5P50CA095856-05 from the National Cancer Institute . We acknowledge that the NCI does not bear any responsibility for the content reported in this paper. We are grateful to Katrina Armstrong, Angel Bourgoin, Taressa Fraze, Derek Freres, Robert C. Hornik, Bridget Kelly, Lourdes Martinez, Rebekah Nagler, Susana Ramirez, Anca Romantan, J. Sanford Schwartz, Aaron Smith-McLallen, and Norman Wong for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript and/or contributions to instrument development, data collection, and coding, and to Robin Otto, Craig Edelman and personnel at the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry for collaboration on sample development.


  • Active participation
  • EHealth
  • Medical decision making
  • Patient education
  • The Internet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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