On the Web a Lot? You May Be Protecting Yourself Against Cancer

Now here's an interesting thought: Internet users are more likely to engage in cancer-preventive behaviors than intermittent users or those who never go online at all.

According to newswise.com, a recent study found that "Older men and women who used the Internet were more likely to participate in screening for colorectal cancer, participate in physical activities, eat healthily, and smoke less, compared with those who did not use the internet."

I guess that's not a surprise.  People of a certain age are usually more likely to be hypochondriacs, too! But a large, population-based study of adults 50 and older in England, found that men and women who were consistent Internet users "were twice as likely to participate in colorectal screening than nonusers."

Now, before you start thinking, well, what else are they going to do with their time, both men and women who were on the Web 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."

". . .We found an association between internet use and cancer-preventive behaviors,” said Christian von Wagner, PhD, senior lecturer in behavioral research in early diagnosis of cancer at the University College London, United Kingdom. ". . .Intermittent users were more likely to have cancer-preventive behaviors than never-users and consistent users were more likely to have this kind of preventive outlook than intermittent users."

Von Wagner and his colleagues, however, found that Internet use was higher in younger, male, white, wealthier, and more educated participants and lower in older, less wealthy, and nonwhite individuals with physical disabilities. “It is important that policymakers recognize the role internet use plays in influencing inequalities in cancer outcomes, and help increase access to the internet among this demographic,” newswise.com quotes him.

So does this mean if you're on the Web a lot, you'll never get cancer?  Of course not.  But it does mean that you'll see the signs of something troubling early, and can attend to it before it becomes bigger.



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