Year of Publication
CONTEXT: Little is known about how parents of children with advanced cancer classify news they receive about their child's medical condition.
OBJECTIVE: To develop concepts of "good news" and "bad news" in discussions of advanced childhood cancer from parent perspectives.
METHODS: Parents of children with advanced cancer cared for at three children's hospitals were asked to share details of conversations in the preceding 3 months that contained "good news" or "bad news" related to their child's medical condition. We used mixed methods to evaluate parent responses to both open-ended and fixed response items.
RESULTS: Of 104 enrolled parents, 86 (83%) completed the survey. Six (7%) parents reported discussing neither good nor bad news, 18 (21%) reported only bad news, 15 (17%) reported only good news, and 46 (54%) reported both good and bad news (1 missing response). Seventy-six parents (88%) answered free response items. Descriptions of both good and bad news discussions consisted predominantly of "tumor talk" or cancer control. Additional treatment options featured prominently, particularly in discussions of bad news (42%). Child well-being, an important good news theme, encompassed treatment tolerance, symptom reduction, and quality of life.
CONCLUSION: A majority of parents of children with advanced cancer report discussing both good and bad news in the preceding 3 months. While news related primarily to cancer control, parents also describe good news discussions related to their child's well-being. Understanding how parents of children with advanced cancer classify and describe the news they receive may enhance efforts to promote family-centered communication.