Communication in Cancer Care:
Longitudinal Cohort Analysis of Patterns and Variations Across
the Cancer Trajectory
Cancer patients recognize that effective communication with their health care providers is of vital importance to their cancer experience. Because communication is so personal and complex, it has been difficult to establish communication practices and policies within cancer service delivery systems to ensure that all patients are well served. Our research team is developing knowledge that will ensure that best practice guidelines reflect the diverse and changing needs of patients for high quality communication at all stages of their cancer journey.
Previous work by this experienced, interprofessional research team has established that cancer patients themselves are an excellent source of insight as to their changing communication needs and preferences. In its most recent study, this team followed 60 cancer patients from shortly after their initial diagnosis and through their cancer journey, interviewing them on a regular basis about their experiences with cancer communication. Communication in Cancer Care: The Trajectory of Interaction Between Patients and Health Care Professionals. From this, they have generated important new insights about how variations in communication influence the diagnostic period and the early cancer experience for patients, as well as how shared decision making is conducted in the interactions between patients and professionals.
The research team is now embarking on a project that will allow them to continue to follow the remaining patients in the current cohort study for as long as possible, to gain as rich and full an understanding of their communication experience over time. In addition, they will enrich that understanding by expanding the study to include a group of patients who have metastatic cancer, as well as a group of patients who have experienced some of the predictable communication variations that they have documented from the patients already in the study.
Rarely have cancer communication studies attempted to follow patients over the course of their cancer journey. Continuation of this line of research, and expanding it to include more patients with metastatic cancer as well as those whose communication needs are different will ensure that the best practice recommendations produced on the basis of this research will be inclusive of the entire spectrum of cancer care and the rich diversity in the Canadian cancer patient population.
If you are interested in learning more about this study or how you might participate, or you know someone else who might be interested, please call our office at 604-822-8070 or email us at email@example.com or click here.