What are they looking for on the internet? A pilot study of online informational needs assessment of women with breast cancer in Korea.
Cho J, Roter D, Juon H-S, Noh D-Y.. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
Background: Breast cancer has become the most common cancer diagnosed in Korean women. The incidence of breast cancer in Korea has rapidly increased since 1980s and there are more young women diagnosed with breast cancer in recent years. However, Korean women with breast cancer suffer from a lack of information about breast health.
There is clear documentation that women perceive a diagnosis of breast cancer as threatening. Information may help women cope during their illness experience, and the advent of the Internet would provide excellent opportunities for the delivery of timely, quality information. Purposes of this study are to find out
1) Who the people that access the online Q&A board for information about breast health are;
2) What their main purposes for using the Q&A board are;
3) What kinds of information they are looking for. Methods: For this pilot study, one of the most active and famous web-site for breast health (www.koreavenus.com) in Korea was chosen and questions people brought to the online Q&A board where they communicate with health professionals were analyzed.
Of 10% questions that people asked on the web from January 1to December 31 in 2004 were randomly selected and analyzed to assess the online informational needs about breast health. Results: There were 1110 questions total in2004, and 108 sample questions were used for the analysis. About 81.5 % of people (88) used the online Q&A board to ask questions about their own breast health and 18.5 % (20) of people asked about their families' breast health.
About 50% of people used the online Q&A board to clarify elements in a new experience, and about 32% asked physicians questions to determine if there are any implications for their well-being. About 16% of people used the online Q&A board to help manage or control their emotion in a threatening situation. With 105 (96.3%) questions, there were specific information needs expressed by the Q&A board users, and 51.9% of those questions had more than one informational need.
Questions about 'Physical condition (43.5%)' and 'Treatment (27.8%)' were the most frequently asked by the online Q&A board users. There were also many questions about 'Diagnosis (18.5%)' and 'Survivorship (13.9%),' while there was no question in relation to 'Finance.' Interestingly, there were relatively high informational needs about diet (15.7%), and this topic was more demanded than after-treatment care or survivorship information.
Discussion: Although the study has various limitations due to the convenience sample, it is clear that there is wide range of informational needs by the Internet users in relation to breast health.
The results would provide areas for future investigation about informational needs on the Internet and utilization of the Internet for delivering proper information in a timely manner.
San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 12/05
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