The cancer information needs of the population are diverse and everyone is constantly bombarded with information that is “potentially” relevant to them. Information overload can lead people to overlook personally relevant information. Finding ways to overcome this problem is critical to the prevention of cancer and support of those with cancer.
The study aimed to identify the colorectal cancer (CRC) information needs of targeted sub-populations in Australia. Groups were distinguished by age and gender. The study also explored whether information identified as important differed depending upon the approach to identification.
600 males and females (300 each) from three age groups (100 each; 35 to 49, 50 to 59, and 60 to 64 years) were recruited utilising a recruitment agency and paid for participation. They completed an online survey that asked them to (1) identify up to 5 questions they had about colorectal cancer and (2) to indicate how important each item from a list of 11 pre-determined categories of CRC information was to them personally.
Results were analysed using Chi-square and 2-way ANOVA. : (1) N=2549 questions were provided and coded into 13 information categories. Results varied by gender and age. (2) Women, regardless of age, rated nearly all types of information about cancer as more important than men.
Information needs do vary between different sub-populations. The finding that men tend to rate specific information about cancer as less important than women, regardless of age, is consistent with previous reports of gender differences.