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Keywords:

  • adolescent;
  • AYA;
  • Internet;
  • pediatric oncology;
  • young adults

Abstract

Background

The Internet serves as an important resource for adult cancer patients, but little is known about Internet use among adolescent and young adults (AYA) with cancer. The aims of this study were to describe (1) cancer-specific websites which AYA with cancer visit and (2) Internet features desired by AYA on cancer-specific websites and how many current AYA cancer websites contain these features.

Procedure

Individual phone interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 16 AYA with cancer from across North America in June 2005. Content analysis of these interviews were coded and validated for desired website features. Current AYA cancer websites were identified on the Internet and the features on these sites were compared to the features desired by our sample.

Results

Favorite websites visited by AYA with cancer (cancer-related and unrelated) were identified along with current Internet use. Twenty-one distinct cancer website features desired by AYA with cancer were described. Twenty-seven unique AYA cancer websites were found on the Internet during May–June 2006. Each site contained 7.7 (SD = 2.7) of the 21 features identified by participants as desirable, but the highest ranked features did not occur in the majority of these websites.

Conclusions

AYA with cancer indicate that they prefer to visit cancer websites that contain cancer-related information, provide the ability to chat with AYA with cancer, and offer some type of game. Although many websites exist for AYA with cancer, few individual sites contain the web features identified as most desired by AYA with cancer. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2008;51:410–415. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.