The Wants and Needs of Older Cancer Survivors When Searching for Online Social Support
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In recent years, the Internet has emerged as a popular tool for providing social support to chronically-ill populations. However, research is limited in understanding the distinct needs of older cancer survivors who are less comfortable with Internet technology than younger generations. In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 cancer survivors over age 50. Thematic analysis was used to help understand their wants and needs when using the Internet for social support. Four main themes were found: 1) the need to take charge of health outcomes, 2) the benefits of knowing they are not alone in their cancer journey, 3) how to maximize online resources for cancer support, and 4) how the spirit of survivorship is imperative for quality of life. These findings can be used to guide the delivery of online social support interventions, as well as facilitate easy access to such interventions by older cancer survivors.