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Cancer patients’ use of the internet for cancer information and support 

Cancer patients’ use of the internet for cancer information and support
Cancer patients’ use of the internet for cancer information and support

Emily B. Peterson

, Megan J. Shen

, Jennifer Gueguen Weber

, and Carma L. Bylund

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date: 21 November 2018

The rise of the internet has dramatically changed the way that patients seek cancer-related information, as well as how they discuss these topics with their healthcare providers. Patients’ increased access to web-acquired information has created a power shift in clinician–patient communication, which may either have a beneficial effect on the relationship (e.g. when patients engage in better shared decision-making) or a harmful effect (e.g. when patients directly challenge their provider’s opinions). This chapter first explores how patients utilize the internet both to acquire cancer-related health information and to seek social support through online forums and support groups. The chapter then draws from facework theories to better understand how clinicians and patients introduce, discuss, and evaluate internet information. The chapter concludes with suggested guidelines and exemplary statements to improve clinician–patient communication about health information found on the internet.

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