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Internet Use Among Women With Recurrent Breast Cancer

18 Years
75 Years
Not Enrolling
Breast Cancer

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Trial Information

Internet Use Among Women With Recurrent Breast Cancer


- To document the proportion of women who use the internet to access treatment and
symptom management information and to seek emotional support after diagnosis of
metastatic recurrent breast cancer.

- To evaluate the association of treatment stage and effectiveness with internet use.

- To evaluate the association of individual differences in patients' demographics,
beliefs, emotional functioning, and social and professional support with internet use.

- To evaluate the association of patients' use of the internet to seek resources with
their beliefs, emotional functioning, and relationship functioning.

OUTLINE: Patients undergo assessments consisting of paper and pencil questionnaires at four
time points. The timing of these assessments is linked to the patient's treatment course and
her presumed need to access internet resources for information on cancer, treatment, symptom
management, and emotional support. Patients who discontinue regular care at the Cancer
Institute of New Jersey site during the course of the study may complete study assessments
through phone interviews conducted by a member of the study team.

Patients undergo a baseline survey prior to deciding on a treatment course for their newly
progressive disease. Patients complete the first part of the survey to provide information
on demographics, beliefs about cancer, mood states, somatic symptoms, and available
resources for cancer information and emotional support. Patients complete the second part of
the survey, if they have used the internet previously to obtain information and resources
about cancer or if they have received cancer information that someone else located on the
internet for them, which inquires about patients' internet use, any internet resources they
have received from family members, friends, or other people they know, and their own
evaluation of these internet resources. Patients undergo the second study assessment after
completion of the first course of treatment and prior to initiating course 2 (i.e., 3 to 4
weeks after initiating treatment). The third study assessment occurs within the first 2
weeks after the medical oncologist's first evaluation of treatment response (i.e., 6-9 weeks
after initiating treatment). The fourth assessment occurs after the medical oncologist's
second evaluation of the patient's response to treatment, following tumor re-staging.

Patients complete several questionnaires during these assessments to provide information
about personal characteristics (demographics, physical and psychological well-being, beliefs
about cancer and treatment, optimism), social and healthcare networks (perceived social
support, social network composition, beliefs about treatment team), and outcomes (use of
non-internet cancer information, use of the internet for cancer resources, use of
interactive technologies, communication with treatment team and family, evaluation of
internet resources).

The following information is extracted from the patients' medical record: stage and node
status at primary diagnosis, previous oncology surgeries, previous adjuvant treatments,
current menopausal status, treatment at time of recurrence, disease free interval, site(s)
of metastasis, and response to current treatment.

Inclusion Criteria


- Diagnosis of recurrent breast cancer meeting either of the following criteria:

- Newly diagnosed metastatic disease

- Recently diagnosed as progressive disease after stable metastatic disease for at
least 6 months

- Must have received the same treatment for metastatic breast cancer for at
least 3 months

- Have received no treatment for progressive disease OR have begun
treatment for progressive disease within the past month

- Patient at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick or Hamilton, New

- Hormone receptor status not specified


- Menopausal status not specified

- Able to speak and write English

- Free of diseases and cognitive impairments that would interfere with comprehension of
the survey instruments or ability to provide informed consent


- See Disease Characteristics

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Primary Purpose: Health Services Research

Outcome Measure:

Use of non-internet cancer information

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Deborah Toppmeyer, MD

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

Cancer Institute of New Jersey


United States: Institutional Review Board

Study ID:




Start Date:

November 2001

Completion Date:

January 2011

Related Keywords:

  • Breast Cancer
  • stage IV breast cancer
  • recurrent breast cancer
  • Breast Neoplasms



Cancer Institute of New Jersey at UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School New Brunswick, New Jersey  08903