Symptoms and self-care strategies during and six months after radiotherapy for prostate cancer - Scoping the perspectives of patients, professionals and literature.
A qualitative study was undertaken to explore the role of informational support in relation to health care service use among individuals with cancer. In-depth interviews were conducted with participants (N = 20) newly diagnosed with either breast or prostate cancer receiving radiotherapy from an oncology clinic in Montreal, Quebec. Content analysis revealed that participants' perceptions about their experience with cancer informational support in relation to health care services varied along the following dimensions: (1) Cancer informational support was tangible, which enabled, confirmed, normalized, and directed their decisions about reliance on health services; (2) Cancer informational support was somewhat paralyzing, which led to distress, conflict, reduced confidence in the health care system and, at times, misuse of health care services; and (3) Cancer informational support was limiting, with perceptions of having received both helpful and unhelpful cancer information which, in turn, although tolerated, offered little guidance in terms of reliance on the most appropriate services. Knowledge about how and when informational support may be most timely may optimize individuals' well being and further guide their use of cancer-related services.