How do cancer patients navigate the public information environment? Understanding patterns and motivations for movement among information sources

J Cancer Educ. 2010 Sep;25(3):360-70. doi: 10.1007/s13187-010-0054-5. Epub 2010 Mar 5.


Little is known about how patients move among information sources to fulfill unmet needs. We interviewed 43 breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients. Using a grounded theory approach, we identified patterns and motivations for movement among information sources. Overall, patients reported using one source (e.g., newspaper) followed by the use of another source (e.g., Internet), and five key motivations for such cross-source movement emerged. Patients' social networks often played a central role in this movement. Understanding how patients navigate an increasingly complex information environment may help clinicians and educators to guide patients to appropriate, high-quality sources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Newspapers as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*