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Communicating about HPV in the context of head and neck cancer: A systematic review of quantitative studies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Linda Sharp



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2019 Elsevier B.V.Objective: Rising incidence of HPV-positive head and neck cancers (HPV-HNC) means HPV infection is increasingly relevant to patient-provider consultations. We performed a systematic review to examine, in the context of patient-provider HNC consultations: discussions about HPV, attitudes towards discussing HPV and information needs. Methods: We searched Embase, PsychINFO, and CINAHL + for studies to August 2018. Eligible studies included: HNC healthcare professionals (HCPs) and/or HNC patients investigated HNC patient-provider communication about HPV. Results: Ten studies were identified: six including HCPs and four including HNC patients. HCPs varied in confidence in HPV discussions, which was related to their HPV knowledge. Both HCPs and patients acknowledged the need for reliable HPV information. Factors which facilitated HPV discussions included accessible HPV information for patients and HCPs and good HPV knowledge among HCPs. Barriers included the perception, among HCPs, that HPV was a challenging topic to discuss with patients. Conclusions: Information deficits, communication challenges and barriers to discussing HPV were identified in HNC patient-provider consultations. Practice implications: Appropriate HPV information is needed for HCPs and patients. Professional development initiatives which increase HCPs’ HPV knowledge and build their communication skills would be valuable.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Connor M, O'Donovan B, Waller J, O Ceilleachair A, Gallagher P, Martin CM, O'Leary J, Sharp L

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Patient Education and Counseling

Year: 2020

Volume: 103

Issue: 3

Pages: 462-472

Print publication date: 01/03/2020

Online publication date: 17/09/2019

Acceptance date: 14/09/2019

ISSN (print): 0738-3991

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5134

Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.09.017