Most cancers sufferers present process lively therapy had been extra prone to imagine misinformation associated to COVID-19 than these and not using a historical past of most cancers, in response to a brand new examine 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 imagine sure forms of misinformation brings us nearer to understanding why that is the case, which in flip might assist us tackle this regarding subject.”
Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D., lead writer, assistant professor on the Richard T. Robertson Faculty of Media and Tradition within the School 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 examine, “Endorsement of COVID-19 Associated Misinformation Amongst Most cancers Survivors,” was revealed within the journal Affected person Schooling and Counseling.
Guidry and colleagues carried out a survey of 897 adults, with roughly one-third present process therapy for most cancers, one-third most cancers survivors not at present in therapy, and one-third respondents with no most cancers historical past. They discovered that most cancers sufferers at present present process therapy had been extra prone to imagine 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 present 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 are usually not solely clear, the researchers say.
“It could be that survivors at present present process therapy have heightened anxiousness about how the present pandemic will influence their course of survival, main them to hunt out extra info on the web or through social media the place they’re extra uncovered to misinformation,” they wrote. “Elevated info searching for might influence most cancers sufferers’ information-processing talents, making them extra seemingly to make use of heuristics or cues, slightly than extra vital, central processing routes of assessing info credibility.”
The examine additionally discovered that most cancers survivors who’re now not in therapy might have extra expertise evaluating the veracity of knowledge they learn on-line.
“Our most cancers survivors, they’ve gone by this journey and are available out the opposite finish, figuring out you possibly can’t imagine every part you learn on the web – they know it’s a must to speak to your physician and different people who find themselves educated about these points,” stated examine senior writer 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 habits and coverage on the VCU Faculty of Medication.
The outcomes construct on a earlier examine by the researchers that discovered that folks of kids with most cancers had been extra prone to imagine misinformation and unverifiable content material related to COVID-19 than mother and father of kids with no most cancers historical past.
Our earlier examine discovered that folks of pediatric most cancers sufferers had been extra prone to think about misinformation about COVID-19 as true in comparison with mother and father of kids 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, seemingly already below stress due to most cancers diagnoses.”
Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D., Lead Creator
The brand new examine’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 tackle sufferers’ issues concerning the pandemic and the way it pertains to their therapy.
“Most cancers sufferers are in an particularly weak place, and it is our obligation as well being care suppliers to assist them climate the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation to allow them to have the very best final result below these difficult circumstances,” stated examine 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 Faculty of Medication.
Knowledge for the brand new examine was collected previous to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Nonetheless, Guidry stated, the findings are related right now.
“The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters up to now have been very profitable in stopping extreme illness and mortality due to COVID-19, however an infection with the virus and its variants continues to be a risk, and misinformation about COVID-19 prevention and therapy continues to be spreading rapidly, each on-line and in particular person,” she stated. “To what extent particular, already weak teams could also be prone to these kinds of misinformation stays related, each for the rest of this pandemic in addition to for future public well being emergencies.”
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.