The impact of online programming on cancer patients


  • Tarleen Dhanoa Concordia University of Edmonton


In this study, a qualitative design was used to examine how online cancer support programming has impacted cancer patients, specifically, the effects on their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We also investigated how cancer support programming could be improved from the perspectives of the participants. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations had to shift to an online-based approach to allow for continued access for their members.  The sudden shift of moving into online programming caused a significant learning curve for organization staff, volunteers, and members. In this research we asked members how they benefited from online programming and to indicate which aspects of programming they would like to see continued post-pandemic. This study was conducted entirely online using thematic analysis to analyze responses. To facilitate this study, we recruited six participants from a cancer support organization. Once participants were recruited, they received an informed consent form, interview questions, and a consent to use data form through google forms. Participants did not have access to the interview questions until they consented to participate in the study. The interview consisted of 10 questions and took approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. At the end of the study, participants received a consent to use data form. Through our thematic analysis, we found five themes that reflected our participants’ experiences with online programming: social connection, positive emotions, growth and gains, challenges and difficulties, and easy accessibility. Our findings showed more positive than negative outcomes through online programming, however, there were still challenges.