Objective: To analyze information needs and search strategies among women with breast cancer in Spain. An additional aim was to explore how the internet, as a source of health information, influences the autonomy and active management of this disease among patients. The research was conducted in 2010 and 2011. Method: This study forms part of a broader qualitative study that focuses on describing patients' experiences of breast cancer and the trajectory of the disease, with the aim of creating a platform of integrated information resources for patients, relatives and healthcare professionals (PyDEsalud: http://www.pydesalud.com). We carried out 41 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with breast cancer patients in different stage of the disease, who were aged between 32 and 69 years. The interviewees' were selected by intentional sampling, which included 15 Spanish regions. The field work was carried out from June to August, 2010. The interviews were recorded on videotape or audio. Based on patients' narratives of their disease, a thematic-inductive analysis was performed of the information gathered. Results: The findings show the importance of the internet as a source of health information. Moreover, the internet is a resource that is able to promote the empowerment process among patients and, consequently, to aid improvement in disease management. Conclusions: Users need access to web sites with high quality health information, adapted to their needs and objectives. © 2012 SESPAS.
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