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Ann Oncol. 2012 Jun;23(6):1579-85. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr532. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Internet use by cancer patients: should oncologists 'prescribe' accurate web sites in combination with chemotherapy? A survey in a Spanish cohort.

Author information

1
Medical Oncology Department, Infanta Sofía University Hospital, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Madrid, Spain. miriam.lopez@telefonica.net

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cancer patients search for information about prognosis and treatment. Internet has become a major source of medical information. Its impact on oncology patients is not well known.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Three hundred and eighty questionnaires were distributed to cancer patients and companions and 293 were returned. The type of information they obtained online, its usefulness, and its impact on the patient-physician relationship as well as other sources of searching were demanded. Student t-tests, chi-square tests, and multivariate regression logistic analysis were carried out.

RESULTS:

Internet use was low (27% patients, 58% relatives). Cancer-specific information was the principal research (41% and 70%). For 61% patients, the information had been useful. Information provided by clinicians was the primary reason to not use Internet (37% and 67%). Twenty-two percent patients discussed it with clinicians. Among other sources, health professional (62% and 51%) and printed materials (18% and 25%) were the most demanded.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cancer patients and carers reported a low use of the Internet for searching medical information, although it helps patients to better cope with cancer. To discuss this information may strengthen the patient-physician relationship. Physicians should ensure that their patients receive reliable online information.

PMID:
22112966
DOI:
10.1093/annonc/mdr532
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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