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Good communication in pediatric cancer care: a culturally-informed research agenda

Publication year
Sobo, E. J.

Communication affects people’s factual understanding of the situations they are in. This in turn affects consent to be treated and adherence. Although a growing body of literature concerns cancer communication, it generally concerns adult patients; pediatric-specific knowledge is limited. Furthermore, most research focuses shortsightedly on physicians rather than providers who have more patient contact, favors studying the single visit instead of encompassing the cycle of cancer care, does not take the child into account, and ignores the importance of provider-provider communication. Moreover, cultural issues are only narrowly conceived. In exploring culture’s role in pediatric cancer care communication, this article demonstrates that culture cannot be defined as just ethnicity or race. Professions also have cultures and resultant differences in communication patterns that can lead to communication failures. It also shows that there is a crucial need for more applied research as well as more qualitative research that can enrich our understanding of the complicated context-related factors facilitating or barring successful pediatric cancer communication.

Research abstracts