The information-seeking behavior of cancer outpatients: a description of the situation

Patient Educ Couns. 1993 Nov;22(1):35-46. doi: 10.1016/0738-3991(93)90087-d.


The information-seeking behavior of cancer outpatients has been studied with the purpose of collecting data for the development of an educational intervention: stimulating communication between cancer outpatients and their specialists. The intention to seek information, the realization of the intention and the reasons for not realizing it are measured with several qualitative and quantitative methods: written questionnaires (n = 60, n = 18), audio records (n = 40) and focus group interviews (n = 19). Not every patient (58%) intends to discuss topics of illness and treatment with the specialist. Possible incentives to plan a discussion with the specialist are experienced uncertainty, fear and dissatisfaction with information received. In 22% of cases cancer outpatients do not realize their intention, and in 25% of cases the realization of the intention is due to the initiative of the specialist or the patient's companion. The information-seeking behavior of cancer outpatients appears to be influenced by several factors, including patients' needs, values and beliefs; unexpected situations; patients' skills; and specialists' and companions' behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Neoplasms / nursing
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires