Communication strategies for rare cancers: A systematic review protocol

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Background: Rare cancers comprise almost a quarter of all cancers in Europe, and patients generally have poorer outcomes than those suffering from more common cancers. This is attributed in part to a general lack of knowledge and awareness of rare cancers. This review aims to examine the communication strategies being used throughout the world to inform on rare cancers and to highlight any opportunities for improvement. Methods: A systematic review of literature published in English prior to November 2018 will be conducted, screening articles from the electronic databases MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsycINFO, CINAHL Plus and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Grey literature databases (GreyLit, OpenGrey) will also be searched in order to screen for any unpublished works. As well as primary literature, reference lists will be examined via forward and reverse citation screening. The review will be reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA). Titles and abstracts will first be examined for eligibility, with remaining studies undergoing a full-text screening before being included in the final review. Individual studies will be screened for bias, and a meta-analysis performed provided there is enough data. If insufficient homogenous literature exists, a narrative summary of the literature will be produced. Discussion: Despite the broad topic and width of study type that will be considered, this review hopes to provide a reflective summary of the communication strategies available for people living with and working with rare cancer. It aims to reveal any gaps in the resources available, to contribute to the long-term improvement of diagnosis and management of rare cancers.




Bell, C., Kerr, K., Moore, K., McShane, C., Anderson, L., McKnight, A. J., & McAneney, H. (2019, April 23). Communication strategies for rare cancers: A systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews. BioMed Central Ltd.

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