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Keywords

Appalachia Region; Cancer; Disparities; Health education; HINTS; Information behavior; Information seeking; Medically underserved areas; Social status – Health aspects

Abstract

There are noted disparities by ethnicity, race, age, gender, and socioeconomic status in the reported use of and access to cancer information. Missing from this list of variables that predict these disparities are specific geographic locales, such as Appalachia, a region recognized as a medically underserved, “special population”. Through a secondary analysis of NCI’s 2003 HINTS dataset, we are able to describe the cancer information-seeking behaviors of Appalachians as compared to non-Appalachians with a focus on actual versus preferential information-seeking behaviors, information-seeking experiences, and demographics. In general, Appalachians and non-Appalachians do not significantly differ in their cancer information-seeking behaviors and experiences. However, there are subtle, important differences related to the use and trust of health care providers and the Internet for cancer information. It is important to understand the effects that geography has not only on health outcomes, but also on access to and use of cancer information.