Information Seeking Behaviours of Patients with Cancer (#78)
The type and quantity of information required by cancer patients varies enormously. Understanding what cancer patients know and from whom they receive information is essential to ensuring quality care. This study aimed to determine whether cancer patients report different information-seeking behaviours, and what information they found most useful.
Consecutive patients with cancer attending the outpatient clinic at Cabrini Health were invited to participate in this study. Patients who were unfit to complete the questionnaires were excluded from the study at discretion of the clinical staff. Participating patients were asked to complete a 20-item investigator-designed questionnaire. The questionnaire included patient demographic data, treatment received, and access to information about cancer. Patients would indicate the degree of satisfaction with their current access of information in categorical responses. There are also questions regarding topics that patient would like more information about and the need for comprehensive internet resource.
152 questionnaires were completed. The median age group of the respondents was between 60-70, and 121/152(80%) were female. Approximately 85%(130/152) of all patients were receiving anti-cancer treatment, and of those, most (78/130,60%) were receiving chemotherapy.
Most patients get information about their cancer from their doctors(94%), followed by nurses(58%), printed materials(49%), internet sources(41%), friends(26%) and media sources(12%). Most patients find information obtained from their doctors(90%) most helpful, followed by nurses(75%).
In terms of need for further information, patients wanted more information about side-effects of treatment(83%), end of treatment(55%), nutrition(47%), symptoms of cancer(43%) and emotional well-being(30%). Less than 20% of patients wanted more information on end of life, sexual health, carers’ information, and community networks.
In conclusion, patients would access information from their health professional and find the information obtained most helpful. Most were satisfied with the understanding of their cancer however wanted more information on treatment-related information and nutrition. Two thirds of the patients were frequent users of internet and there is a need to develop a comprehensive internet resource for patients with cancer.