Most cancers sufferers present process energetic therapy had been extra prone to consider misinformation associated to COVID-19 than these and not using a historical past of most cancers, in response to a brand new research led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth College.
These findings assist us higher perceive the specter of COVID-19 misinformation in an already weak inhabitants. Understanding who’s extra prone to consider sure varieties of misinformation brings us nearer to understanding why that is the case, which in flip could assist us deal with this regarding difficulty.”
Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D., lead creator, assistant professor on the Richard T. Robertson College of Media and Tradition within the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, director of the Media+Well being Lab at VCU and member of the Most cancers Prevention and Management analysis program at VCU Massey Most cancers Heart
The research, “Endorsement of COVID-19 Associated Misinformation Amongst Most cancers Survivors,” was revealed within the journal Affected person Schooling and Counseling.
Guidry and colleagues performed a survey of 897 adults, with roughly one-third present process therapy for most cancers, one-third most cancers survivors not at the moment in therapy, and one-third respondents with no most cancers historical past. They discovered that most cancers sufferers at the moment present process therapy had been extra prone to consider false details about COVID-19 than the opposite two teams. Least prone to endorse COVID-19 misinformation had been most cancers survivors now not in therapy.
“These outcomes spotlight that, in comparison with wholesome adults with out most cancers, most cancers survivors at the moment present process therapy could also be extra weak to COVID-19-related misinformation, whereas these now not in therapy are much less weak,” the researchers wrote.
Why are most cancers sufferers extra prone to endorse COVID-19 misinformation? The explanations usually are not completely clear, the researchers say.
“It might be that survivors at the moment present process therapy have heightened nervousness about how the present pandemic will influence their course of survival, main them to hunt out extra data on the web or through social media the place they’re extra uncovered to misinformation,” they wrote. “Elevated data in search of could influence most cancers sufferers’ information-processing talents, making them extra probably to make use of heuristics or cues, somewhat than extra crucial, central processing routes of assessing data credibility.”
The research additionally discovered that most cancers survivors who’re now not in therapy could have extra expertise evaluating the veracity of knowledge they learn on-line.
“Our most cancers survivors, they’ve gone by way of this journey and are available out the opposite finish, realizing you possibly can’t consider all the things you learn on the web – they know it’s a must to discuss to your physician and different people who find themselves educated about these points,” stated research senior creator Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., affiliate director for inhabitants science and Gordon D. Ginder, M.D., Chair in Most cancers Analysis at VCU Massey Most cancers Heart in addition to professor of well being conduct and coverage on the VCU College of Medication.
The outcomes construct on a earlier research by the researchers that discovered that folks of youngsters with most cancers had been extra prone to consider misinformation and unverifiable content material related to COVID-19 than dad and mom of youngsters with no most cancers historical past.
Our earlier research discovered that folks of pediatric most cancers sufferers had been extra prone to take into account misinformation about COVID-19 as true in comparison with dad and mom of youngsters with no most cancers historical past. Whereas neither of those teams had been random inhabitants samples, and due to this fact the findings can’t be generalized, that is nonetheless regarding as a result of these are each weak teams, probably already underneath stress due to most cancers diagnoses.”
Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D., Lead Creator
The brand new research’s outcomes recommend that oncologists and different suppliers working with sufferers present process therapy for most cancers must be aware of the sufferers’ potential susceptibility to misinformation and may assist deal with sufferers’ issues in regards to the pandemic and the way it pertains to their therapy.
“Most cancers sufferers are in an particularly weak place, and it is our responsibility as well being care suppliers to assist them climate the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation to allow them to have the absolute best end result underneath these difficult circumstances,” stated research co-author Robert Winn, M.D., director and Lipman Chair in Oncology at VCU Massey Most cancers Heart and senior affiliate dean for most cancers innovation on the VCU College of Medication.
Information for the brand new research was collected previous to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Nevertheless, Guidry stated, the findings are related in the present day.
“The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to date have been very profitable in stopping extreme illness and mortality due to COVID-19, however an infection with the virus and its variants remains to be a risk, and misinformation about COVID-19 prevention and therapy remains to be spreading rapidly, each on-line and in individual,” she stated. “To what extent particular, already weak teams could also be prone to these kind of misinformation stays related, each for the rest of this pandemic in addition to for future public well being emergencies.”
Virginia Commonwealth College
Guidry, J.P.D., et al. (2022) Endorsement of COVID-19 Associated Misinformation Amongst Most cancers Survivors. Affected person Schooling and Counseling. doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2021.05.026.
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