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Information preferences of women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer


Chloë Cowan, Beatson Oncology Centre, Western Infirmary, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6NT, UK (e-mail:


The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to identify a possible relationship between the information-seeking behaviour of patients receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer with source, type, amount and satisfaction of health information accessed. The sample (n = 36) were drawn from the medical oncology department of a large city centre teaching hospital. Participants were recruited through consecutive attendance to the medical oncology department. Eighty-six patients were invited to participate (response rate 42%). An anonymous self-report questionnaire and the Miller Behavioural Style Scale were used to measure attitudes towards 10 different sources of information and identify information-seeking behaviour. The study found that high information-seeking behaviour influenced the type of information sources used to find out about chemotherapy, but did not influence the level of satisfaction with the information sources used. Healthcare professionals were the most frequently used sources of information, but the majority of the sample used a variety of information sources. The Internet was the most frequently used mass media source of information (50% of the sample), especially by those under 50 years old (P = 0.033). Patients’ behavioural signature needs to be considered when addressing their information needs. Oncology services need to provide patients with details of recommended high-quality websites to access for information about their chemotherapy.