<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Patients needs and experiences attract increasing attention within health care. In order to generate knowledge about the voices that emerge from collaborative experiences between members of patient associations for cancer patients (PACP) and health care professionals (HCPs), we studied a permanent network aimed at improving cancer care through increased attention to the cancer patients' view and experiences.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Open-ended interviews were carried out with 16 individuals; 6 PACP members and 10 HCPs, and after transcription the texts were analysed by inductive content analysis.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Four <it>voices</it>, which represent various experiences from networking, were identified; <it>the hesitant voice</it>, <it>the enlightened voice</it>, <it>the liberated voice</it>, <it>and the representative voice</it>. The hesitant voice reflects uncertainty experienced when the participants were exposed to different views and opinions within the network. The enlightened voice reflects new points of view and gain of knowledge. The liberated voice signifies trust, balance, and confidence related to individual experiences and responsibilities being viewed in a broader perspective. The representative voice is derived from the transformation of experiences and responsibilities through insight, understanding, and new perspectives.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Networking between representatives for PACPs and HCPs may help the participants manage uncertainty, strengthen the patient's perspective and provide new views on common issues. The different voices identified in this study demonstrate that both PACP members and HCPs distanced themselves from their individual experiences in order to be perceived as unselfish and knowledgeable within the network. Although the climate was characterized by trustfulness, the members' unique positions need to be defined in order to obtain an optimal balance between the groups and prevent members' patient experiences of losing their character by learning to much from the HCPs. Increased understanding of the hesitant, the enlightened, the liberated, and the representative voices, and awareness of experiential versus professional knowledge of cancer may facilitate and probably improve future networking efforts.</p
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