This paper is an assessment of the use of CancerHelp UK, a Web site developed as a resource for people living with cancer. Attitudes to the use of the site were examined through interviews with 23 patients and relatives in a two-phase pilot study. The analysis of the data was conducted within a framework derived from activity theory which focused on individual perspectives, purposes and outcomes and the processes involved in use. Our findings show that the process of using the site and the characteristics of the medium were regarded as beneficial, although some inexperienced computer users needed some help. There were positive cognitive and affective outcomes for those who had independently chosen to use the site. However, there were differences in process and outcome between independent users and participants who had been invited to use the resource for evaluation purposes. The study raises questions about the use and evaluation of the World Wide Web for teaching and learning through an informal learning activity. The response of participants to the use of CancerHelp UK indicates that the resource is both useful and usable. The authors suggest that the availability of the Web as a means for learning about cancer may challenge the traditional transmission-based practice of the medical consultation.