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Children with cancer share their views: tell the truth but leave room for hope

Journal title
Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)
Publication year
Jalmsell, L.; Lovgren, M.; Kreicbergs, U.; Henter, J. I.; Frost, B. M.

AIM: One in five children diagnosed with cancer will die from the disease. The aim of the study was to explore how children with cancer want to receive bad news about their disease, such as when no more treatment options are available. METHODS: We conducted individual interviews with ten children with cancer, aged seven to 17 years, at a single paediatric oncology unit in central Sweden. Interviews were audio-taped and analysed with systematic text condensation. Bad news was defined as information about a potentially fatal outcome, such as a disease relapse, or information that the treatment administered was no longer working and that there was no more treatment possible. RESULTS: All children expressed that they wanted truthful information and they did not want to be excluded from bad news regarding their illness. They wanted to be informed as positively as possible, allowing them to maintain hope, and in words that they could understand. They also wanted to receive any bad news at the same time as their parents. CONCLUSION: Children with cancer want to be fully informed about their disease, but they also wanted it to be relayed as positively as possible so that they could stay hopeful.

Research abstracts