Individuals newly diagnosed with cancer may experience impairments in several aspects of health and often have a high need for both information and support. Approximately 30 % will experience symptoms of anxiety and depression with varying needs of support. E-health interventions such as internet-based interactive health communication applications (IHCAs) may offer a supplement to standard care services. Developers of such interventions need to work closely with presumptive users to add relevance and value. The purpose was to explore the user experiences of an IHCA targeting individuals with breast- colorectal or prostate cancer with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A qualitative study with inductive approach was conducted, where 15 individuals using an IHCA targeting symptoms of anxiety and depression were interviewed with semi-structured questions. Content analysis was used to analyze interviews.
The need for information was described as high, and almost looked upon as a survival strategy when newly diagnosed. The IHCA was experienced as a useful, reliable source of information and support, and was used as a complement to standard care. Increased knowledge was a foundation for continued processing of own feelings and the favorable time to get access to the IHCA was when being informed of the diagnose. The common denominator was that of being acknowledged but with a further desire for individual adjustment to own situation and needs.
The IHCA was experienced as a safe and reliable complement to standard care. Similar interventions may gain from a more individualized content, being integrated in to standard care and/or by using tracking of symptoms to adjust the content. Offering the IHCA closer to diagnosis may provide more benefits to users.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Regional Committee for Research Ethics Sweden, Uppsala county (Dnr 2012/003/9).
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.