Cancer Control and the Communication Innovation in South Korea: Implications for Cancer Disparities

  • Jung, Minsoo (Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute / Department of Health Science, Dongduk Women's University)
  • Published : 2013.06.30


Over the last 10 years, the number of cancer survivors in South Korea has reached nearly one million with a survival rate of 49.4%. However, integrated supportive care for cancer survivors is lagging. One area in which the current cancer control policy needs updating is in the utilization of information and communication technology (ICT). The remarkable progress in the field of ICT over the past 10 years presents exciting new opportunities for health promotion. Recent communication innovations are conducive to the exchange of meta-information, giving rise to a new service area and transforming patients into active medical consumers. Consequently, such innovations encourage active participation in the mutual utilization and sharing of high-quality information. However, these benefits from new ICTs will almost certainly not be equally available to all, leading to so-called communication inequalities where cancer survivors from lower socioeconomic classes will likely have more limited access to the best means of making use of the health information. Therefore, most essentially, emphasis must be placed on helping cancer survivors and their caregivers utilize such advances in ICT to create a more efficient flow of health information, thereby reducing communication inequalities and expanding social support. Once we enhance access to health information and better manage the quality of information, as a matter of fact, we can expect an alleviation of the health inequalities faced by cancer survivors.


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