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New Zealanders need high quality cancer information

Friday 2 December 2016

New Zealanders need high quality cancer information

There is considerable demand for cancer information resources in New Zealand, with a third of women and a quarter of men deliberately searching for these over the past year, according to a new University of Otago study.

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

Dr Richards says motivations for searching included their own cancer experience, concern about a symptom or early detection result or a family history of cancer.

“Most commonly, however, searchers were prompted by a family member or friend receiving a cancer diagnosis.

“There are important opportunities here to provide information to a wider circle of family and friends, so they can support someone experiencing cancer, but also because they may be at an increased risk of health issues themselves, such as depression and anxiety,” she says.

People were looking for a variety of information, most commonly concerned with the experience of cancer treatment and survival, how to identify it early and how to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

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 and titled “Cancer information seeking among adult New Zealanders: a national cross-sectional study”, was authored by Dr Rose Richards, Mrs Bronwen McNoe, Dr Ella Iosua, Associate Professor Anthony Reeder, Dr Richard Egan, Dr Louise Marsh, Miss Lindsay Robertson, Dr Brett Maclennan, Mrs Anna Dawson, Dr Robin Quigg, and Ms Anne-Cathrine Petersen. It ispublished online in the Journal for Cancer Education.

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