Why people living with and beyond cancer use the internet
People living with and beyond cancer suffer with a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. To manage the challenges associated with cancer, patients use a variety of self-management resources, including the Internet. People living with and beyond cancer use the Internet to make decisions regarding their self-care, through information provision, online communities, and support groups. Using the Internet may empower patients, enabling them to feel they have the required knowledge to discuss complementary and alternative treatment options with their health care team. Patients use the Internet because of its practicality; however, there are also several barriers affecting patients with cancer using the Internet, such as lack of information technology skills, lack of computer access, and concerns over the quality of information. Health care professionals need to be aware that the information available on the Internet plays a factor in the decision-making processes regarding using complementary and alternative medicine for self-management. With the use of the Internet as a tool for self-management continuing to grow, it is recommended that more emphasis is placed on health care professionals discussing the role the Internet plays in the decision-making process, to further support their patients regarding self-management for living with and beyond cancer.