A survey of health information seeking by cancer patients indicates some problems over medical explanations and terminology

Akbolat M., Amarat M., Unal O., Santas G.

HEALTH INFORMATION AND LIBRARIES JOURNAL, vol.40, no.1, pp.29-41, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/hir.12387
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Information Science and Technology Abstracts, INSPEC, Library and Information Science Abstracts, Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA), MEDLINE, Public Affairs Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.29-41
  • Keywords: health information needs, information-seeking behaviour, patient education, patient information, questionnaires
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: Yes


Background Cancer patients may experience stress because of insufficient information about their illness, health condition, or treatment, but some may fear what the information reveals. Objective This study aims to determine health information-seeking behaviour, the attitudes of cancer patients, the barriers they face in seeking health information and their sociodemographic and disease characteristics. Methods A survey was conducted with 84 cancer patients in Turkey. Descriptive statistics were performed to determine the characteristics of information seeking and barriers found. Results Cancer patients are likely to seek health information, often confident about finding resources easily. The main problems are as follows: (1) insufficient information from health care providers; (2) understanding medical terminology; and (3) lack of help from health care providers to explain information retrieved. Discussion The information-seeking behaviour of cancer patients in this sample in Turkey resembles studies elsewhere, with (overall) evidence of monitoring behaviour (wanting to find out more about the disease, treatment and effects on lived experience). Conclusions The cancer patients in this survey were generally willing and confident in their information seeking to find out more about the disease, treatment and effects on lifestyle. The main barriers were medical terminology, insufficient explanations and information from healthcare providers.