Outcomes of online support and resources for cancer survivors: a systematic literature review. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: This study aims to review systematically the available literature on health outcomes of online cancer support and resources. METHODS: We searched major databases with the following selection criteria: (1) empirical study on use of online support or resources by cancer survivors, (2) reporting effects or outcomes of online support or resources, (3) focusing on adult cancer survivors, and (4) peer-reviewed articles published by 2010. RESULTS: A total of 24 studies (37 articles) were included in the review. Most studies were focused on breast cancer survivors and had small sample sizes. Fifteen studies employed a cross-sectional design including eight qualitative studies. Only five studies used pre-post design, and four employed RCT design. The outcome measures have focused on psychosocial effects; most studies reported positive effects, although none of the RCT studies reported significant outcomes. CONCLUSION: Existing studies of online cancer support and resources have demonstrated preliminary but inconclusive evidence for positive outcomes. We call for additional studies with rigorous study designs and the inclusion of more diverse participants and cancer conditions. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Connecting diverse cancer survivors to culturally appropriate, evidence-based online support and resources is a strategy to enhance health outcomes.

published proceedings

  • Patient Educ Couns

author list (cited authors)

  • Hong, Y., Pea-Purcell, N. C., & Ory, M. G.

complete list of authors

  • Hong, Yan||Peña-Purcell, Ninfa C||Ory, Marcia G

publication date

  • January 2012