Get access

Children's knowledge of cancer diagnosis and treatment: Jordanian mothers' perceptions and satisfaction with the process

Authors

  • D.H. Arabiat RN, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health Nursing,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • N.M. Alqaissi RN, MS, CNS-CP, PhD,

    1. Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Jordan University of Science and Technology, WHO Collaborating Center, Ar Ramtha, Jordan,
    2. Adjunct Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, NY, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • A.M. Hamdan-Mansour RN, PhD

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, University of Jordan, Amman,
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Funding: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Diana H. Arabiat, Department of Maternal and Child Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan; Tel: (962 6) 5355000/ 23183, 23182, (962 777) 438538; Fax: (962) 6 5300244; E-mail: : d.arabiat@ju.edu.jo; dnarabiat@yahoo.co.uk.

Abstract

ARABIAT D.H., ALQAISSI N.M. & HAMDAN-MANSOUR A.M. (2011) Children's knowledge of cancer diagnosis and treatment: Jordanian mothers' perceptions and satisfaction with the process. International Nursing Review58, 443–449

Background:  The amount of information shared with children regarding their illness, as well as what knowledge children are entitled to know, varies widely among cultures.

Aims:  This study aims to examine mothers' accounts of communication about cancer diagnosis to their children, how much children knew about their illnesses and how satisfied the mothers were with the method they used in communicating the diagnosis.

Methods:  Using semi-structured interviews and open-ended questions, 51 mothers attending paediatric oncology clinics in Jordan were interviewed. Content analysis was used to analyse the data.

Findings:  Mothers expressed a range of views about the forms of disclosure, including being clear about the diagnosis and its treatment and being secretive yet misconceptualizing the accounts of the illness. The median age for the children diagnosed with cancer was 11 years (interquartile range 7–16 years). Most of the mothers were offered no help with talking to their children about cancer diagnosis. Mothers who found it difficult to tell the news of the diagnosis to their children finally withheld the diagnoses from them. Those same mothers were unhappy and uncomfortable with the communication method they had used with children.

Conclusion:  This study emphasized the role of nurses' interaction with their child patients diagnosed with cancer. Nurses should not have an opinion about how and what children need to know about their illness, and preferably should take an active role in the process of communication between mothers and their children. Further work and research are needed in this field.

Ancillary