Cancer Information Via Chat

Survey Shows Interest Among Visitors of German CIS Website

German Cancer Research Center

The German Cancer Information Service has conducted a survey to explore the interest in using a chat among users of its website. More than three quarters of the survey participants declared an interest in using an expert chat. Only one third of those interested in a chat had already contacted the cancer information service by phone or e-mail.

In 2015, the German Cancer Information Service answered about 34,000 enquiries individually, mainly from patients and their relatives. Most people contacted the service by phone (78%) or e-mail (17%). Other, less frequented information channels comprised face-to-face counseling, letters, or social media like Facebook. In the same period, the website registered more than 534,000 individual visitors per month on average.

In the context of positive experiences with expert chat offers of cancer information services in other countries, the German CIS has conducted a survey to explore the interest in using a chat in the German population. The goal of the survey was to evaluate needs and expectations regarding cancer information via 1:1 live chats with an expert among visitors of

In the 4-week survey period, registered 705,000 unique visitors. Among them, 875 participated the survey and 524 completed the questionnaire. 351 visitors left the questionnaire before completing it, most of them before or during answering question no.1.

Among participants, 76 percent or 398 persons can imagine chatting with the experts of the German Cancer Information Service. Preferred time of day for chatting is between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and there is a wish for obtaining a chat history through e-mail. Only very few interested users would not reveal any personal data like an e-mail address.

Visitors of the website interested in chatting primarily ask for individual information and support with decision making. General cancer information and guidance to suitable contact addresses inside the healthcare system are also desired preferably. Support with social legislation issues or emotional support play subordinate roles.

The results of the survey also suggest that offering a chat could generate additional demand for individual cancer information: Only one third of the respondents interested in chatting had already contacted the German Cancer Information Service by phone or e-mail. Furthermore a chat may bring forth more inquiries about prevention and early detection of cancer.

For further information contact Ursula Will at