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The role of healthcare professionals in HPV communication with head and neck cancer patients: A narrative synthesis of qualitative studies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Linda Sharp


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© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Introduction: Prevalence rates of human papillomavirus positive (HPV+) head and neck cancers (HNC) have increased over the last decades. Communicating about HPV is an increasingly relevant part of HNC patient care. This systematic review was conducted to explore healthcare professionals’ (HCP) views and experiences of discussing HPV with HNC patients. It also examined perceptions among different HCP groups of their professional roles in HPV discussions. Methods: A narrative synthesis of qualitative research was conducted. Three databases—Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL+—were searched from January 2007 to August 2018. Relevant data were extracted and synthesised thematically. Results: Five studies were identified: four were qualitative and one used mixed methods. HCPs varied in their experience and views of discussing HPV. HCPs who engaged in these discussions believed they were beneficial for patients. All HCPs described the need to address their HPV knowledge deficits in order to provide clear HPV information. Changes in professional roles which were linked to HPV communication for HCPs involved in HNC patient care were also evident. Conclusions: Effective HPV discussions are an important part of patient-provider interactions. Evidence-based interventions and professional development activities which support HCPs in their HPV discussions with patients would be valuable.

Publication metadata

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

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Cancer Care

Year: 2020

Volume: 29

Issue: 4

Print publication date: 01/07/2020

Online publication date: 20/05/2020

Acceptance date: 16/04/2020

ISSN (print): 0961-5423

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2354

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/ecc.13241