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Open Access Research article

Design and process evaluation of an informative website tailored to breast cancer survivors’ and intimate partners’ post-treatment care needs

Evelyn Pauwels1, Elke Van Hoof23, Caroline Charlier14, Lilian Lechner4 and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij1*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Watersportlaan 2, 9000, Gent, Belgium

2 Faculty of Psychological and Educational Sciences, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

3 Belgian Cancer Centre, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Brussels, Belgium

4 Faculty of Psychology, Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, the Netherlands

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:548  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-548

Published: 3 October 2012



On-line provision of information during the transition phase after treatment carries great promise in meeting shortcomings in post-treatment care for breast cancer survivors and their partners. The objectives of this study are to describe the development and process evaluation of a tailored informative website and to assess which characteristics of survivors and partners, participating in the feasibility study, are related to visiting the website.


The development process included quantitative and qualitative assessments of survivors’ and partners’ care needs and preferences. Participants’ use and evaluation of the website were explored by conducting baseline and post-measurements. During the intervening 10–12 weeks 57 survivors and 28 partners were granted access to the website.


Fifty-seven percent (n=21) of survivors who took part in the post-measurement indicated that they had visited the website. Compared to non-visitors (n=16), they were more likely to have a partner and a higher income, reported higher levels of self-esteem and had completed treatment for a longer period of time. Partners who consulted the on-line information (42%, n=8) were younger and reported lower levels of social support compared to partners who did not visit the website (n=11). Visitors generally evaluated the content and lay-out positively, yet some believed the information was incomplete and impersonal.


The website reached only about half of survivors and partners, yet was mostly well-received. Besides other ways of providing information and support, a website containing clear-cut and tailored information could be a useful tool in post-treatment care provision.

Breast cancer; Partner; Design study; Process evaluation; Internet; Survivorship