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Keywords

Cancer, Communication, Consumer, Health information, Internet

 

Authors

  1. DICKERSON, SUZANNE S. DNS, RN
  2. REINHART, AMBER PhD
  3. BOEMHKE, MARCIA DNS, RN, NP
  4. AKHU-ZAHEYA, LAILA PhD, RN

Abstract

Increasingly, cancer-related Web sites have been developed to provide information for patients. More needs to be done to understand the experience of men with cancer using the Internet. Heideggerian hermeneutics is the interpretive approach used to guide this study. Fifteen men with cancer who used the Internet were recruited through a prostate cancer support group and snowball sampling. Participants were individually interviewed and asked to tell stories of Internet use and practices. Transcribed interviews provided data for interpretive analysis. The overall constitutive pattern describing the men's experience is "cancer diagnosis as a problem to be solved." Five related themes included (1) seeking disease and treatments information from the Internet for decision making, to become comfortable with treatment plan; (2) organizing information to facilitate provider encounters and to monitor for reoccurrence; (3) evaluating Web information by credibility and usability with trust in the physician influencing the end decision point; (4) symptom management by knowing possibilities by hearing patient stories; and (5) navigating through the healthcare system politics and power. Men with cancer are incorporating Internet use into their cancer journey. They perceive changing provider-patient relationships when they participate in treatment decisions and monitor for reoccurrence.