Article

Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 360-370

How Do Cancer Patients Navigate the Public Information Environment? Understanding Patterns and Motivations for Movement Among Information Sources

  • Rebekah H. NaglerAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania Email author 
  • , Anca RomantanAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of PennsylvaniaDepartment of Communication, University of Massachusetts
  • , Bridget J. KellyAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of PennsylvaniaResearch Triangle Institute
  • , Robin S. StevensAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of PennsylvaniaCenter for Health Behavior and Communication Research, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Stacy W. GrayAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of PennsylvaniaCenter for Outcomes and Policy Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • , Shawnika J. HullAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • , A. Susana RamirezAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Robert C. HornikAffiliated withCenter of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

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Abstract

Little is known about how patients move among information sources to fulfill unmet needs. We interviewed 43 breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients. Using a grounded theory approach, we identified patterns and motivations for movement among information sources. Overall, patients reported using one source (e.g., newspaper) followed by the use of another source (e.g., Internet), and five key motivations for such cross-source movement emerged. Patients’ social networks often played a central role in this movement. Understanding how patients navigate an increasingly complex information environment may help clinicians and educators to guide patients to appropriate, high-quality sources.

Keywords

Information seeking Cross–source engagement Grounded theory Complementarity theory