An investigation of support services available by Internet searching to families impacted by a parent's cancer

Julia N. Morris, Jeneva Ohan, Angelita Martini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Throughout a parent's cancer diagnosis and treatment, families are likely to turn to the Internet to find social, emotional, and informational support services. It is important that professionals understand the content and availability of support discoverable through Web searches. This study identified and described Web-based information regarding support services offered to families when a parent has cancer.

Methods: Predefined key search terms were searched across 2 public Web browsers for a period of 3 months. Web-based information of support services (n = 25) was abstracted, and their key criteria examined.

Results: Of services offering face-to-face support (n = 22), more were founded by persons impacted by cancer (n = 10) (patients, parents, and offspring) than professionals (n = 4). Services offered online were created by health organisations and universities (n = 3). It appeared several service programs were delivered by volunteers, support staff, or facilitators, rather than registered health professionals or those with professional qualifications. Few services supported young children (under 5 years) or the parents themselves.

Conclusion: Support services for families affected by a parent's cancer is relatively difficult to find through Web searches. Ambiguity around staff qualifications or evidence-base of support may hinder layperson engagement. Services offering face-to-face support were often founded by those directly affected by cancer; conversely, services founded by persons with assumable expertise (health organisation and university staff) were limited to online support. Such findings highlight a possible discrepancy in consumer and provider priorities and have implications for current understandings of psychosocial support needs and service development for families affected by a parent's cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-124
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Children's group Camp Angel Community events Winter Retreat (fundraiser) New Year's Party (fundraiser) Summer Fun Night (fundraiser) Family programme Facing Cancer Together (educative support programme) Financial support Emergency financial assistance (for non‐medical basics) Informal support Field trips Teen Outreach (resilience building activities and socialising)

Funding Information:
Children's group Art workshop Empowering Relationships Empowering Self (empowerment workshops) Leadership workshops Camp CanNectors (mentor programme) Financial support CanGrow Grants ($1500 personal development grant)

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • cancer
  • internet
  • oncology
  • parental cancer
  • support
  • support service


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