Internet Use and Anxiety in People with Melanoma and Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

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BACKGROUNDPeople with cancer are increasingly turning to the Internet for health-related information.OBJECTIVETo compare the patterns of Internet use of people with skin cancer with previous findings by including people with nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) using a comprehensive survey. To evaluate perceived anxiety levels and overall satisfaction after searching the Internet of people with skin cancer.METHODS & MATERIALSWe conducted a survey study and prospectively collected data from people newly diagnosed with melanoma or NMSC.RESULTSFour hundred fifteen participants with melanoma and 400 with NMSC completed the questionnaire. Internet use and overall satisfaction with the Internet search increased more than 50% in participants with melanoma from 2005. One-third of participants with melanoma, but many fewer participants with NMSC, reported higher anxiety after Internet use. Participants who were younger, female, more highly educated, and diagnosed with melanoma were most likely to use the Internet to search for information about their diagnosis.CONCLUSIONInternet use is prevalent and increasing sharply in individuals with skin cancer. The majority of individuals describe their use of the Internet as a positive experience. Greater anxiety from searching the Internet is more common in individuals with melanoma than in those with NMSC.The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

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