Information needs of cancer survivors vary over time and by cancer type

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Cancer survivors' information needs differed over time depending on the topic, and these trends varied by cancer type, according to a recent study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

For the study, researchers sought to describe how cancer survivors' information needs about late effects, recurrence, and family risks of cancer change over their survivorship period.

Researchers conducted three surveys annually from 2006 to 2008 in cancer survivors diagnosed with breast, colon, or prostate cancer in Pennsylvania. In the first year, 2,013 survivors completed the survey, followed by 1,293 in year 2, and 1,128 in year 3.

Results showed that survivors most frequently sought information about reducing risks of cancer recurrence over all 3 years. Researchers found that breast cancer survivors in particular were more likely to seek information about survivorship topics in the first year than other survivors.

The study demonstrated a sharp decline in information seeking among breast cancer survivors, while female colon cancer survivors sought more information over time. They specifically sought information regarding reducing the risk of family members getting cancer.

The findings suggest that clinicians should be aware that cancer survivors' information needs change over time, and that they may need to intervene at certain points with information to address patient concerns.

The special needs of cancer survivors persist well beyond overcoming the disease.
Cancer survivors' information needs differed over time depending on the topic, and these trends varied by cancer type.
This study describes how cancer survivors' information needs about recurrence, late effects, and family risks of cancer evolve over the course of their survivorship period.
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