Encouraging the faster spread of information “at all levels of society, including patients and providers, may have a large impact on reducing both colorectal cancer mortality and the social inequalities observed in colorectal cancer mortality," the researchers wrote.
Mark Benson, MD, assistant professor of gastroenterology and endoscopy at the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public Health said, “The study was interesting in that while it is well known that socioeconomic factors often play a part in having access to colon-cancer screening, a consumer’s motivation to seek information regardless of whether they have access to health insurance also plays a part in cancer prevention."
Benson pointed out that with so much information available to consumers via the Internet, medical sources and intra-personal relationships today it is surprising that there is a disparity of education about colon cancer.
“Yet, I see that disparity all the time in my practice," he said. “Some patients are well informed prior to the screening procedure and others are not. Educating patients about the importance of colon cancer screening is a complicated process but vitally important because it can save lives."
Wang added, “Not everyone has the resources to pay for preventive services, but to increase population health we need to improve outcomes among individuals who are less likely to hear about, discuss and use information to its maximum capacity."
* The rate of deaths from colon cancer decreased between 1980 and 2008 for people with high socioeconomic status but increased in those with low socioeconomic status.
* Colon cancer deaths decreased substantially in states with higher rates of information diffusion, a measure of a state’s willingness to adopt public health campaigns and promote health care practice innovation.
* States with lower rates of health information diffusion had slower declines in colon-cancer deaths during the study period.
Source: Health Behavior News Service, and the Center for Advancing Health