Older men and women who are consistent internet users are twice as likely to participate in screening for colorectal cancer compared with those who do not use the internet, reveals a new study. A large, population-based, cohort study of older adults in England, collected data from men and women aged 50 or older, and found that both men and women who used the internet consistently were also 50 percent more likely to take part in regular physical activity, 24 percent more likely to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and 44 percent less likely to be current smokers.
There was, however, no association between internet use and participation in breast cancer screening among women.
"We accounted for sociodemographic factors that influence internet use and various measures of physical capabilities and cognitive function that decline with age, and still found an association between internet use and cancer-preventive behaviors," Christian von Wagner, Ph.D., senior lecturer in behavioural research in early diagnosis of cancer at the University College London, United Kingdom, said.
Wagner said that the interesting aspect here is a dose-response relationship between internet use and cancer preventive-behaviours: Intermittent users were more likely to have cancer-preventive behaviours than never-users, and consistent users were more likely to have cancer-preventive behaviours than intermittent users.
It was found that internet use was higher in younger, male, white, wealthier, and more educated participants and lower in older, less wealthy, and nonwhites individuals with physical disabilities.
The study is published in journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.