Cancer-related internet information communication between oncologists and patients with breast cancer: A qualitative study Journal Article


Authors: Shen, M. J.; Dyson, R. C.; D'Agostino, T. A.; Ostroff, J. S.; Dickler, M. N.; Heerdt, A. S.; Bylund, C. L.
Article Title: Cancer-related internet information communication between oncologists and patients with breast cancer: A qualitative study
Abstract: Objective Many patients with cancer search out information about their cancer on the internet, thus affecting their relationship with their oncologists. An in-depth analysis of patient-physician communication about information obtained from the internet is currently lacking. Methods We audio-recorded visits of patients with breast cancer and their oncologists where internet information was expected to be discussed. Inductive thematic text analysis was used to identify qualitative themes from these conversations. Results Twenty-one patients self-reported discussing cancer-related internet information (CRII) with their oncologists; 16 audio recordings contained detectable discussions of CRII and were analyzed. Results indicated that oncologists and patients initiated CRII discussions implicitly and explicitly. Oncologists responded positively to patient-initiated CRII discussions by (1) acknowledging their limited expertise/knowledge, (2) encouraging/approving using the internet as an information resource, (3) providing information/guidance on the proper use of internet searches, (4) discussing the pros and cons of relevant treatment options, or (5) giving information. Finally, patients reacted to the CRII discussions by (1) indicating that they only used reputable sources/websites, (2) asking for further explanation of information, (3) expressing continued concern, or (4) asking for the oncologist's opinion or recommendation. Conclusions These results indicate that the majority of patients introduce internet information implicitly, in order to guard against any threat to their self-esteem. Physicians, in turn, seem to respond in a supportive fashion to reduce any threat experienced. Future interventions may consider providing prescription-based guidance on how to navigate the internet as a health information resource and to encourage patients to bring these topics up with their oncologist. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Keywords: adult; controlled study; major clinical study; breast cancer; internet; self report; doctor patient relation; medical information; interpersonal communication; knowledge; qualitative analysis; self esteem; thematic analysis; audio recording; oncologist; human; female; article
Journal Title: Psycho-Oncology
Volume: 24
Issue: 11
ISSN: 1057-9249
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons  
Date Published: 2015-11-01
Start Page: 1439
End Page: 1447
Language: English
DOI: 10.1002/pon.3752
PROVIDER: scopus
PUBMED: 25631285
PMCID: PMC4517971
DOI/URL:
Notes: Export Date: 2 December 2015 -- Source: Scopus
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MSK Authors
  1. Jamie S Ostroff
    237 Ostroff
  2. Maura N Dickler
    256 Dickler
  3. Alexandra S Heerdt
    89 Heerdt
  4. Megan Johnson Shen
    24 Shen
  5. Robert Carmelo Dyson
    1 Dyson