Questioning effects of patient empowerment antecedent by information and communication technologies in breast cancer patients : a case study from Turkey

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2010

Thesis Language: English

Student: Oya Deniz Beyan



This thesis aims to examine how patient empowerment based on Internet information has impact on health care processes and patient – physician relationship. The process of empowerment is analyzed in three main steps; searching and obtaining information; sharing and discussing obtained information with providers; and involving decision making process. Study domain covers with breast cancer patients continuing their treatment in hospitals. In-depth interview methodology has been employed. Interviews are conducted in two settings: one is a university hospital; other is a state hospital of Ministry of Health. Sample size was 20 patients and 6 doctors. As result of study we observed that most of the breast cancer patients have low level of empowerment. This is mainly caused by perception of cancer and high level of anxiety of patients. Most of the middle class women even though they use Internet in everyday life, they neither want to search for information on their cancer not they want to involve in decision making.. Some of the educated upper middle class use Internet however they do not share gathered information with their doctors. They mainly use this information to test competency of doctor. Most patients prefer to seek for information until they made a decision, mostly finding a trustable doctor. Even though some of upper middle class, high education women use Internet intensively, they do not involve in decision and leave the responsibility to the doctor. Young generation regardless of their socio economic situation has tendency to use internet and getting empowered.