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Reports of Sharing and Withholding Cancer-Related Information by Patients With Gynecologic Cancer and Their Supporters

Maria G. Checton
Maria K. Venetis
Danielle Catona
Allyson C. Bontempo
Kathryn Greene
Alexandre Buckley de Meritens
Katie A. Devine
ONF 2019, 46(6), 676-685 DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.676-685

Purpose: To examine patients’ with gynecologic cancer and supporters’ reports of sharing and withholding cancer-related information during oncology visits, with a focus on navigating communication encounters more effectively.

Participants & Setting: 18 women who were recently diagnosed with gynecologic cancer and their supporters (N = 16) were recruited from the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick.

Methodologic Approach: Data were collected via audio-recorded semistructured interviews and analyzed to determine the types of information that patients and supporters share or withhold during oncology visits.

Findings: Thematic analyses revealed two major themes: “everything is easy to share” and “nothing is withheld except . . . ” Patients and supporters indicated that topics such as treatment side effects are easiest to share, whereas sharing private information is difficult when the other is present.

Implications for Nursing: Probing patients and supporters separately on topics that they may not feel comfortable discussing can help nurses to identify unaddressed concerns and better assist patients and their supporters during oncology visits.

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