Background: Men with prostate cancer require ample information and support along the continuum of care, and eHealth is one way to meet such critical information and support needs. Currently, evidence about how age influences use and perceptions about prostate cancer eHealth information and support is lacking.
Objective: The aim of this paper is to explore use and perceptions about eHealth among men living with prostate cancer. Specifically, we aimed to analyze men with prostate cancer by age-specific cohorts to identify potential age-related differences in use and perceptions about prostate cancer eHealth information.
Methods: We used survey methodology to examine how men under 65 years old with prostate cancer differ from those aged 65 years old or older in use and perceptions about prostate cancer eHealth information and support (n=289).
Results: We found that men in the younger cohort used the Internet more often to be informed about treatment options (P=.04) and to learn more about staging/grading (P=.01) than men in the older cohort. Results also showed comparatively greater use of online prostate cancer information for emotional support and encouragement by the younger as compared to the older cohort (P=.001). Furthermore, the older cohort reported more negative psychosocial effects of eHealth (eg, more anxious, depressed) than younger men (P=.002). We also found that as a result of more frequent Internet use, younger men experienced more positive psychosocial effects (eg, more informed, in control) from accessing information about prostate cancer through eHealth channels (b=-0.10, 95% CI -0.28 to 0).
Conclusions: Men with prostate cancer have different information and support needs; our findings suggest that these needs might vary by age. Future research is needed to unravel age-related factors underlying these differences to be better able to tailor prostate cancer eHealth information to men’s information and support needs.
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