Cancer survival rates impact type of Web communities used by patients

Nov 18, 2008

Online support communities for high survival rate cancers contain a greater amount of emotional support content than online support communities for cancers with low survival rates, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

The researchers also found that support communities for low survival rate cancers contain a greater amount of informational support content than online support communities for high survival rate cancers.

"Online communities have become an important resource for individuals seeking emotional and informational social support related to cancer," says senior author Caroline Richardson, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System.

The study—led by Lorraine Buis, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System—assessed differences in emotional and informational social support content in online communities for cancers with high and low survival rates.

The researchers also found that, overall, emotional support was more prevalent than informational support across all communities and all types of cancers.

Both emotional and informational support is widely available within online communities for cancer, but not all of these sites are created equally, Buis notes.

"When primary care providers refer individuals to online communities for support, they should be aware that there might be differing amounts of support based on the survival rare of a particular cancer," she says. Buis also explains that not only are such online communities for patients, "but they help family and friends cope with the struggles that cancer presents."

Until Richardson's and Buis's most recent study, there had been no previous research on the influence of patients' cancer survival rates on social support content within online support communities for cancer.

Source: University of Michigan

Explore further: One common genetic variant and bacteria help dictate inflammation, antitumor activity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microbiome may have shaped early human populations

Dec 16, 2014

We humans have an exceptional age structure compared to other animals: Our children remain dependent on their parents for an unusually long period and our elderly live an extremely long time after they have ...

International team maps 'big bang' of bird evolution

Dec 11, 2014

The genomes of modern birds tell a story of how they emerged and evolved after the mass extinction that wiped out dinosaurs and almost everything else 66 million years ago. That story is now coming to light, ...

Recommended for you

Putting the brakes on cancer

8 hours ago

A study led by the University of Dundee, in collaboration with researchers at our University, has uncovered an important role played by a tumour suppressor gene, helping scientists to better understand how ...

Peanut component linked to cancer spread

9 hours ago

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.