Men's Preferences for Sources of Information About and Support for Cancer

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Dunn, J
Steginga, SK
Occhipinti, S
McCaffrey, J
Collins, DM
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1999
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Abstract

Background. Compared with women, men utilize health services and psychosocial support services less, with important implications for the provision of cancer support and information services. This study investigated men's preferences for sources of information about and support for cancer. Methods. A survey of 1,461 men (46% response), aged 19‐91 years (mean = 54.31), in randomly selected community service men's clubs in urban and rural Queensland, Australia. Study variables included educational attainment, utilization of medical services, and preferences for sources of information and support for cancer. Results. Three ways of receiving support for cancer were identified: social support network, external emotional support, and external informational support. Social support network was most preferred, followed by external emotional and external informational support. However, less‐educated men were less likely to utilize external informational support and more likely to utilize social support network. Men with previous cancer diagnoses were less likely to utilize social support network than men who had not had cancer. The men were most likely to seek information about cancer from their physicians, and 31.2% had sought information about cancer in the previous six months. The men had visited their physicians most often for acute or chronic illness (54‐8%), and seldom for cancer screening (2.1%). Conclusions. The physician and family comprise a social support network that is the preferred source of support for men who have cancer. Interventions that seek to enhance this network may be most effective in facilitating psychosocial support after cancer diagnosis. Physicians are a preferred source of information about cancer, but may be underutilized in this function. Service providers should consider both gender and educational attainment as important variables influencing preferences for information sources and support for cancer.

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Journal of Cancer Education
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Nursing
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