What Young Women with Breast Cancer Get Versus What They Want in Online Information and Social Media Supports

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2019 Jun;8(3):320-328. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2018.0125. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Abstract

Purpose: Young women are high users of social media (SM), but information is lacking on whether online supports including SM meet the needs of young women (<40 years) with breast cancer (YWBC). YWBC are a vulnerable population who experience many psychosocial challenges alongside cancer diagnosis and treatment. This study aimed to gather data on what YWBC get versus what they want in online support. Methods: Semi-structured interviews explored YWBC's perceptions and use of online information/SM, including visions for ideal support. YWBC between the ages of 18-40 were recruited via two urban oncology clinics. Recruitment continued until redundancy of responses was achieved. Results: Thirteen YWBC participated in the study. Some reported benefits of online supports included connection with similar others, emotional support and ease of use. These benefits were balanced by drawbacks, such as a lack of appropriate/credible information and/or distressing information. Respondents spontaneously mentioned coping strategies such as managing information exposure and regulating SM use to mitigate against harms of online supports. Collectively, participants described nine facets of an ideal online support hub, which could function as a one stop shop for informational, practical and emotional supports for YWBC. Conclusion: Developing a multifunction online support hub may help women to find credible and useful information, rapidly, and address current limitations of online supports.

Keywords: breast neoplasm; information; internet; social media; support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Social Media / standards*
  • Social Support*
  • Young Adult

Grant support