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Keywords:

  • anxiety;
  • breast cancer;
  • empowerment;
  • internet;
  • patient education;
  • quality of life

Aims and objectives

To evaluate the effect of the Breast Cancer Patient Pathway program on breast cancer patient's empowerment process.

Background

The results of earlier studies indicate that the use of tailored Internet-based patient education programs increased patient's knowledge level; however, other outcome measures differed.

Design

This randomised control trial studied the effect of the Internet-based patient educational program on breast cancer patients' empowerment. In this study, we measured the quality of life, anxiety and managing with treatment-related side effects as the outcomes of breast cancer patients' empowering process.

Methods

Breast cancer patients who were Internet users in one Finnish university hospital during 2008–2010 were randomised to the control group (n = 43) and the intervention group (n = 47). Baseline data were collected first in the hospital and the following data seven times during the treatment process, the last time one year after breast cancer diagnosis.

Results

There were no statistically significant differences in the quality of life, anxiety or side effects of treatment between the groups. The amount of treatment-related side effects was connected to both physical and psychological well-being.

Conclusions

In this study, the Breast Cancer Patient Pathway program did not decrease anxiety level or treatment-related side effects among breast cancer patients or improve subscales of quality of life when compared with controls.

Relevance to clinical practice

There is a need to relieve the side effects caused by patients' care with the help of patient education. Internet-based patient education programs need more focus when developing new patient education methods.