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Male cancer patients' use of a national cancer information service, their requests and key predictors of these over the period April 1996 to March 1998 are presented, in comparison with women. The most frequent requests of 411 prostate, 162 male and 217 female colorectal cancer patients were similar: site-specific information, emotional support, publications, specific therapies. Research or clinical trials (P < 0.05), diet and nutrition (P < 0.001) requests differed between men with prostate and colorectal cancers; complementary therapies (P < 0.05), prognosis (P < 0.05) requests differed between male and female colorectal cancer patients. Among prostate cancer patients, employed men aged 60+ were more likely to need emotional support than retired men aged 70 +; men < 59 years old were more likely to request publications, but less likely to enquire about specific therapies than others. Among male colorectal cancer patients, employed men were less likely to request site-specific information, but more likely to need emotional support than retired men; patients from geographical areas other than Thames were more likely to request publications; patients from manual classes were less likely to enquire about specific therapies than those from non-manual classes. The complexity of information and support seeking behaviour is demonstrated; no pattern was found among men or in comparison with women. Further research is needed to enable development of services that are appropriate to individual needs and concerns.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





641 - 648


Age Distribution, Aged, Clinical Trials as Topic, Colorectal Neoplasms, Employment, England, Female, Humans, Information Services, Male, Middle Aged, Odds Ratio, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Patient Education as Topic, Prostatic Neoplasms, Regression Analysis, Research, Sex Distribution, Sex Factors, Social Support