Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 503–508 | Cite as

Cancer Patients and the Internet: a Survey Among German Cancer Patients

  • Marie-Desiree Ebel
  • Jan Stellamanns
  • Christian Keinki
  • Ivonne Rudolph
  • Jutta HuebnerEmail author


An increasing number of patients and relatives use the Internet to get additional or initial information about their disease. The aim of the study was to reevaluate the Internet usage among German cancer patients. Using a standardized questionnaire, we did an anonymous survey on patients attending a series of lectures on complementary medicine in 2014. We received 255 questionnaires. Nearly 80 % of the participants stated that they used the Internet to read up information about health or medicine issues. There was no significant difference regarding gender, age, or status (patient, current treatment/former treatment; relatives). Most users use the Internet in order to get additional information after a consultation with a physician (82.2 %). Important qualities from the view of the patient are a trustable source (65.3 %), information from experts (59.6 %), and actual information (52.8 %). There is an increasing number of patients in Germany looking for information in the Internet mostly in the intention of getting additional information. Yet, as the quality of information is heterogeneous, false information may lead to distrust in the doctor or wrong decision-making. Accordingly, organizations working on improving quality of cancer care should engage in conveying comprehensive and actual information adapted to the needs of patients. Physicians should know trustful websites for referral of patients.


Cancer patients Information Internet 

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 57 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie-Desiree Ebel
    • 1
  • Jan Stellamanns
    • 2
  • Christian Keinki
    • 2
  • Ivonne Rudolph
    • 2
  • Jutta Huebner
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Working Group Integrative Oncology, Dr. Senckenberg Chronomedical InstituteJ.W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.German Cancer SocietyBerlinGermany

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