Journal of Public Health

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 133–143

The use of the Internet by women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer-results of online research

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10389-007-0134-0

Cite this article as:
Kirschning, S. & von Kardorff, E. J Public Health (2008) 16: 133. doi:10.1007/s10389-007-0134-0



Patients are increasingly searching the Internet for information on health-related topics.

Research design

We examined the use of the Internet by women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer with an online questionnaire. On the basis of 563 respondents, the ways, the scope, and the targets of the reported Internet search were analyzed, as well as the related expectations and experiences of the users. A special focus was laid on the question of how Internet information influences the illness-related decision-making processes and the doctor-patient relationship.


While trust in physicans and their medical authority is not being fundamentally questioned, patients are increasingly confronting their doctors with high expectations concerning transparent information, openness, and willingness to shared decision-making; they want to know the doctors’ opinions on various possibilities of treatment, and they expect serious comment on their findings in the Net.


E-healthInternetDoctor-patient relationshipOnline surveyBreast cancerProstate cancerCommunication

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humboldt University of BerlinInstitute for Rehabilitation SciencesBerlinGermany