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1.  Cancer Patient Disclosure and Patient-Doctor Communication of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use: A Systematic Review 
The Oncologist  2012;17(11):1475-1481.
This article explores the nondisclosure of complementary and alternative medicine use among cancer patients, including reasons for and outcomes from nondisclosure, within the context of patient-doctor communication.
Learning Objectives
After completing this course, the reader will be able to: Discuss the danger inherent in nondisclosure of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use due to the potential for herb- or vitamin-drug interactions with conventional treatment.Explain the need for greater patient-doctor communication about CAM use in oncology settings in order to maintain patient safety and wellbeing.
This article is available for continuing medical education credit at
To explore the nondisclosure of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among cancer patients, including reasons for and outcomes from nondisclosure of CAM use, within the context of patient-doctor communication.
A systematic review was conducted exploring investigations surrounding the communication of CAM use for patients with cancer published until August 2011.
A total of 21 studies were located, which reported a prevalence of CAM use among patients with cancer ranging between 11% and 95%; of these patients, 20% to 77% did not disclose their CAM use. The main reasons for nondisclosure were the doctor's lack of inquiry; patient's anticipation of the doctor's disapproval, disinterest, or inability to help; and patient's perception that disclosure of CAM use is irrelevant to their conventional care. There is some evidence to suggest that patient-doctor communication about the use of CAM was associated with an enhanced patient-doctor relationship and higher patient satisfaction.
Although the use of CAM by patients with cancer is high, patients frequently fail to disclose its use to their health professionals for reasons emanating from both sides of the dyadic patient-doctor relationship. Because a substantial proportion of patients with cancer may use CAM and there is potential for herb- or vitamin-drug interactions, further research in patient-doctor communication about CAM is necessary to maintain patient safety and wellbeing. The development of effective interventions to improve the disclosure of CAM use should be an integral part of this future research.
PMCID: PMC3500370  PMID: 22933591
Complementary and alternative medicine; Cancer; Disclosure; Doctor-patient relations
2.  Conquer fear: protocol of a randomised controlled trial of a psychological intervention to reduce fear of cancer recurrence 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:201.
Up to 70% of cancer survivors report clinically significant levels of fear of cancer recurrence (FCR). Despite the known negative impact of FCR on psychological wellbeing and quality of life, little research has investigated interventions for high FCR. Our team has developed and piloted a novel intervention (Conquer Fear) based on the Self-Regulatory Executive Function Model and Relational Frame Theory and is evaluating Conquer Fear in a randomised controlled trial (RCT). We aim to compare the efficacy and cost-efficacy of the Conquer Fear Intervention and relaxation training in reducing the impact of FCR.
This study is a multi-centre RCT with 260 participants randomised either to the Conquer Fear Intervention or relaxation training. Both interventions will be delivered in five sessions over 10 weeks by trained psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers with five or more years experience in oncology. Conquer Fear sessions use attentional training, detached mindfulness, meta-cognitive therapy, values clarification and psycho-education to help patients change the way they regulate and respond to thoughts about cancer recurrence. Relaxation training includes training in progressive and passive muscle relaxation, meditative relaxation, visualisation and “quick relaxation” techniques. Relaxation was chosen to control for therapist time and attention and has good face-validity as an intervention. The primary outcome is fear of cancer recurrence. Secondary outcomes include distress, quality of life, unmet needs, and health care utilisation. Participants complete questionnaires prior to starting the intervention, immediately after completing the intervention, 3 and 6 months later. Eligible participants are early-stage breast or colorectal cancer survivors who have completed hospital-based treatment between 2 months and 5 years prior to study entry and report a score in the clinical range on the Fear of Cancer Recurrence Inventory. The biostatistician is blinded to group allocation and participants are blinded to which intervention is being evaluated. Randomisation is computer generated, stratified by therapist, and uses sequentially numbered sealed envelopes.
If successful, the study will provide an evidence-based intervention to reduce psychological morbidity in cancer survivors, and reduce overall health care costs due to more appropriate use of follow-up care and other health services in this very large population.
Trial registration
Trial registration: ACTRN12612000404820
PMCID: PMC3652728  PMID: 23617696
Fear of cancer recurrence; Cancer; Oncology; RCT; S-REF model; Intervention; Metacognition; Detached mindfulness
3.  What are the current barriers to effective cancer care coordination? A qualitative study 
National cancer policies identify the improvement of care coordination as a priority to improve the delivery of health services for people with cancer. Identification of the current barriers to effective cancer care coordination is needed to drive service improvement.
A qualitative study was undertaken in which semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with those best placed to identify issues; patients who had been treated for a range of cancers and their carers as well as health professionals involved in providing cancer care. Data collection continued until saturation of concepts was reached. A grounded theory influenced approach was used to explore the participants' experiences and views of cancer care coordination.
Overall, 20 patients, four carers and 29 health professionals participated. Barriers to cancer care coordination related to six aspects of care namely, recognising health professional roles and responsibilities, implementing comprehensive multidisciplinary team meetings, transitioning of care: falling through the cracks, inadequate communication between specialist and primary care, inequitable access to health services and managing scarce resources.
This study has identified a number of barriers to coordination of cancer care. Development and evaluation of interventions based on these findings is now required.
PMCID: PMC2891740  PMID: 20482884
4.  Provision of taped conversations with neonatologists to mothers of babies in intensive care: randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;334(7583):28.
Objective To determine whether providing mothers of babies in neonatal intensive care units with audiotapes of their conversations with a neonatologist improves recall of information and psychological wellbeing.
Design Randomised, single blinded trial.
Setting Neonatal intensive care unit, North Queensland, Australia.
Participants 200 mothers of babies in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Interventions Mothers given (n=102) or not given (n=98) audiotapes of their conversations with a neonatologist.
Main outcome measures Recall of information, attitudes to and use of the tape, satisfaction with conversations, postnatal depression, anxiety, general health, and stress about parenting, at 10 days and four and 12 months.
Results 91% (n=93) of mothers in the tape group listened to the tape (once by day 10, twice by four months, and three times by 12 months; range 1-10). At 10 days and four months, mothers in the tape group recalled significantly more information about diagnosis, treatment, and outcome than mothers in the control group. At four months mothers in the tape group were 75% more likely to recall all of the information about treatment than mothers in the control group (59% v 34%; risk ratio 1.75, 95% confidence interval 1.27 to 2.4). Six mothers, all in the control group, could not recall their conversations. No statistically significant differences were found between the groups in satisfaction with conversations (10 days), postnatal depression and anxiety scores (10 days, four and 12 months), and stress about parenting (12 months).
Conclusion Providing the mothers of babies in neonatal intensive care units with audiotapes of conversations with a neonatologist enhanced their recall of information (up to four months). The taped conversations did not affect the mothers' wellbeing or satisfaction with the neonatologist.
Trial registration Australian Clinical Trials Registry 12606000478516.
PMCID: PMC1764090  PMID: 17142256
5.  Analysis of cancer risk and BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation prevalence in the kConFab familial breast cancer resource 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(1):R12.
The Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research into Familial Breast Cancer (kConFab) is a multidisciplinary, collaborative framework for the investigation of familial breast cancer. Based in Australia, the primary aim of kConFab is to facilitate high-quality research by amassing a large and comprehensive resource of epidemiological and clinical data with biospecimens from individuals at high risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer, and from their close relatives.
Epidemiological, family history and lifestyle data, as well as biospecimens, are collected from multiple-case breast cancer families ascertained through family cancer clinics in Australia and New Zealand. We used the Tyrer-Cuzick algorithms to assess the prospective risk of breast cancer in women in the kConFab cohort who were unaffected with breast cancer at the time of enrolment in the study.
Of kConFab's first 822 families, 518 families had multiple cases of female breast cancer alone, 239 had cases of female breast and ovarian cancer, 37 had cases of female and male breast cancer, and 14 had both ovarian cancer as well as male and female breast cancer. Data are currently held for 11,422 people and germline DNAs for 7,389. Among the 812 families with at least one germline sample collected, the mean number of germline DNA samples collected per family is nine. Of the 747 families that have undergone some form of mutation screening, 229 (31%) carry a pathogenic or splice-site mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Germline DNAs and data are stored from 773 proven carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA1 mutations. kConFab's fresh tissue bank includes 253 specimens of breast or ovarian tissue – both normal and malignant – including 126 from carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
These kConFab resources are available to researchers anywhere in the world, who may apply to kConFab for biospecimens and data for use in ethically approved, peer-reviewed projects. A high calculated risk from the Tyrer-Cuzick algorithms correlated closely with the subsequent occurrence of breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation positive families, but this was less evident in families in which no pathogenic BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation has been detected.
PMCID: PMC1413975  PMID: 16507150

Results 1-5 (5)