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Communicating about HPV in the context of head and neck cancer: A systematic review of quantitative studies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

M. O'Connor, B. O'Donovan, J. Waller, A. Ó Céilleachair, P. Gallagher, C. M. Martin, J. O'Leary, L. Sharp

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-472
Number of pages11
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
PublishedMar 2020

King's Authors


Objective: Rising incidence of HPV-positive head and neck cancers (HPV-HNC) means HPV infection is increasingly relevant to patient-provider consultations. We performed a systematic review to examine, in the context of patient-provider HNC consultations: discussions about HPV, attitudes towards discussing HPV and information needs. Methods: We searched Embase, PsychINFO, and CINAHL + for studies to August 2018. Eligible studies included: HNC healthcare professionals (HCPs) and/or HNC patients investigated HNC patient-provider communication about HPV. Results: Ten studies were identified: six including HCPs and four including HNC patients. HCPs varied in confidence in HPV discussions, which was related to their HPV knowledge. Both HCPs and patients acknowledged the need for reliable HPV information. Factors which facilitated HPV discussions included accessible HPV information for patients and HCPs and good HPV knowledge among HCPs. Barriers included the perception, among HCPs, that HPV was a challenging topic to discuss with patients. Conclusions: Information deficits, communication challenges and barriers to discussing HPV were identified in HNC patient-provider consultations. Practice implications: Appropriate HPV information is needed for HCPs and patients. Professional development initiatives which increase HCPs’ HPV knowledge and build their communication skills would be valuable.

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