BETHESDA, Md--Cable television, not computers, may be the best way to reach the poor with information about cancer research, Harold P. Freeman, MD, said at a meeting of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) that focused on issues of minority recruitment into clinical trials.
Dr. Freeman, director of surgery, Harlem Hospital Center, and chair of the President's Cancer Panel, said that "we continue to isolate the poor, those without the equipment to search the Internet, those without phones to call for information. The Internet has elitist demographics, no quality control, and no security of information."
He recommended that an "800" phone number be made available and widely published for those without computers who want to obtain the same information that is being given out on the Internet. And for those who have no telephones, Dr. Freeman said that cable television is currently much used by the poor and by minority cultures, and thus would be a good means of disseminating cancer information.
He added that, for those patients with Internet access, the balance of power between patient and physician may shift. "In the future, patients will come to their physicians with more knowledge."