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05.07.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2019

Supportive Care in Cancer 2/2019

Health professional perceptions of communicating with adolescents and young adults about bone cancer clinical trial participation

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 2/2019
Verna Lavender, Faith Gibson, Alexandra Brownsdon, Lorna Fern, Jeremy Whelan, Susie Pearce
Wichtige Hinweise
Findings reported in this manuscript arise from a study, where findings related to other aspects of the participation of adolescents and young adults in bone cancer trials have been reported in a separate manuscript: Pearce, S., Brownsdon. A., Fern, L., Gibson, F., Whelan, J., Lavender, V. The Perceptions of Teenagers, Young Adults and Professionals in the participation of Bone Cancer Clinical Trials. European Journal of Cancer Care. Version of Record online: 3 MAR 2016, DOI: 10.1111/ecc.12476
A poster presentation was given at the Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference, April 2017, Oxford, UK.
A paper was presented at the UK Oncology Nursing Society Symposium at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference, November 2017, Liverpool, UK.



Low recruitment of adolescents and young adults in cancer clinical trials is widely reported and may be linked to limited improvements in survival. Research to date does not adequately explain all underlying reasons for poor trial accrual. This paper reports health professional perceptions of communicating with adolescents and young adults with bone sarcoma about clinical trial participation.


This study used narrative inquiry. Findings are reported from thematic analysis of in-depth interviews with 18 multidisciplinary health professionals working in a supra-regional bone and soft tissue sarcoma centre.


Participants described professional expertise, the development of specialist knowledge and skills and strategies used to develop trusting relationships with adolescents and young adults with bone sarcoma. These factors were perceived to facilitate communication about clinical trial participation. Emergent themes were having credibility through expertise of the team, developing specialist communication skills through reflection on practice, having inclusive approaches to education and training about clinical trials, individual communication styles used to form trusting relationships, using a patient-centred approach to connect with adolescents and young adults, creating time needed to form trusting relationships and effective team working.


We aligned findings of this study with characteristics of patient-physician trust and provide a basis for transferable recommendations. Our findings can be used to inform the development of age-specific, specialist communication skills and highlight health professional education needs about clinical trials. Additional research is needed to explore which elements of team working optimise improved clinical trial participation, in what contexts and why.

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