Breast Cancer Patients' Information Needs and Information-Seeking Behavior in a Developing Country

Breast. 2016 Aug;28:156-60. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2016.05.011. Epub 2016 Jun 16.


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women both around the world and in Iran. By studying the information needs of patients with breast cancer, the quality of the information provided for them can be improved. This study investigated the information needs of breast cancer patients and their information-seeking behavior.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from March to June, 2015. The research population was 120 women diagnosed with breast cancer and informed about their disease who referred to oncology outpatient clinics at a specialized cancer hospital and a radiotherapy oncology center in Mashhad (the only specialized cancer centers in eastern and northeastern Iran).

Results: Average participant age was 46.2 years (SD = 9.9). Eighty-five percent of patients desired more information about their disease. Results showed that the attending physician (mean = 3.76), television health channel (mean = 3.30), and other patients (mean = 3.06) were the most popular sources of information for breast cancer patients. Patients stated their strongest reasons for using information sources as achieving a better understanding of the disease (mean = 3.59), less anxiety (mean = 3.92), and curiosity to learn more about the disease (mean = 3.66), sequentially. Results further indicated that disease management (mean = 4.18) and nutritional options during treatment (mean = 4.14) were the most often mentioned areas in which patients required information, while knowing the progress rate of their disease was the least (mean = 3.73).

Conclusion: It seems necessary to have a good, organized plan to provide breast cancer patients with information and increase their information literacy, one of their undeniable rights.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Information literacy; Information seeking behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Communication
  • Consumer Health Information*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Iran
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Television
  • Trust