Internet usage linked to cancer prevention behavior
Internet usage is often associated with teenagers overindulging in computer games, but it may have health benefits for older users. New research shows that older internet users are more likely to take part in colorectal cancer screening projects than non-users.
Both the American Cancer Society and the UK's NHS show that colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and that both Americans and Brits face a 1 in 20 chance of developing the disease.
They also point out that the death rate from this disease has been dropping for the past 20 years, citing screening as one of the most likely reasons.
Research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention this month shows that English men and women aged 50 and over who are consistent internet users are twice as likely to participate in screening programs than non-users.
Data collected from 5,943 respondents to the English Longitudinal Study of Aging - a large, population-based cohort study - also showed that consistent users do not conform to the stereotypical image of computer users as couch potatoes. The study show that they are:
50% more likely to take part in regular physical activity
44% less likely to be a current smoker
24% more likely to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
Surprisingly though, the research did not show any association between internet use and women attending breast cancer screening.
The English Longitudinal Study of Aging collects multidisciplinary data covering health, economic position and quality of life from people aged 50.
The first data was collected in 2002 and has been followed-up in waves every 2 years until 2011. Respondents were asked about their internet and email use, any cancer screening and what, if any, regular physical exercise they did.
Of the participants, 41% reported not using the...