The information requirements of people with cancer: where to go after the "patient information leaflet"?

Cancer Nurs. 2005 Jan-Feb;28(1):36-44, quiz 45-6. doi: 10.1097/00002820-200501000-00005.


Information is crucial for people with cancer for both successful treatment and rehabilitation and to facilitate user involvement and informed decision making. Research has tended to concentrate on biomedical sources, such as hospital-produced information. There have been few inductive investigations of patients' use of information available outside this environment, despite the media and Internet being identified as pervasive sources of cancer information. This article reports on a study that utilized naturalistic inquiry to explore the extent and manner in which the media and Internet are utilized as information sources by people with cancer. Results confirm that the media was used considerably by the study sample and was an important contributor to knowledge and facilitator for decision making. Participants were not passive receivers of media messages but interpreted it depending on their particular needs or their rating of the media source. Consumption of media-produced information was constrained by certain factors, such as the participants' physical inability to access sources, and needs were not always satisfied because media discourse and "newsworthiness" restricted the reporting of what was sought. The study highlights the importance of the media and Internet as an information source for people with cancer and calls for a greater awareness of this phenomenon.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Services / classification
  • Information Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mass Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • United Kingdom