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Vård i Norden;31 (2)
Sykepleiernes Samarbeid i Norden
Background: The most common reason for patient dissatisfaction with the public health service is related to information and communication. Due to shorter admission periods cancer patients are increasingly expected to deal with symptoms and side-effects related to their treatment at home and by them selves. Online discussion groups increase the patient’s ability to exchange information and provide mutual support. Aim: To explore significance of relations in information exchanged between breast cancer patients participating in an online discussion forum. Method: A qualitative content analysis with an explorative/descriptive design was used. The raw data include messages submitted by 45 women with breast cancer to an online discussion group. Findings: The analysis shows that the patients, through the exchange of information, experienced sharing a unique bond. They noticed their peer’s ways of handling the illness and demonstrated great personal and formal knowledge of how to live with cancer. Conclusion: The patients in the online discussion group possess extensive knowledge about cancer and how to live with the illness. Their shared experiences enable them to show understanding and acceptance for each other’s situation. The patients are important resources for their peers in providing hope for the future, but also for handling painful situations. Online discussion groups are important supplements to the information provided by medical professionals.
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