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Article

Framing Concerns about Body Image during Pre- and Post-Surgical Consultations for Head and Neck Cancer: A Qualitative Study of Patient–Physician Interactions

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Department of Communication, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
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Department of Communication, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
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Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada
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Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
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School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
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Department of Nursing, Oncology Division, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
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Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
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Division of Radiation Oncology, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
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Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada
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Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
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Segal Cancer Centre, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Curr. Oncol. 2022, 29(5), 3341-3363; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29050272
Received: 22 March 2022 / Revised: 25 April 2022 / Accepted: 2 May 2022 / Published: 5 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychosocial Effects of Head and Neck Cancer)
Patients with head and neck cancer report high unmet psychosocial needs as they undergo lifesaving treatments that can significantly alter their appearance and cause functional impairments. This qualitative analysis of recordings of 88 pre- and post-surgical consultations involving 20 patients respond to the need for empirical studies of patient–provider conversations about body image concerns. It indicates that the emphasis on concerns about survival, cure, and physical recovery during clinical consultations may leave concerns about the impacts of surgery on appearance and function unexplored and even silenced. The interviews with patients and medical team members that complement the analysis of the recordings suggest that an emphasis on survival, cure, and physical recovery can respond to the need for reassurance in the context of serious illness. However, it can also be problematic as it contributes to the silencing of patients’ concerns and to a potential lack of preparedness for the consequences of surgery. The results of this study can contribute to raising surgeons’ awareness of the interactional dynamics during clinical consultations. Moreover, the results highlight the unique role that surgeons can play in validating patients’ psychosocial concerns to support patients’ rehabilitation in both physical and psychosocial domains. View Full-Text
Keywords: head and neck cancer; physician–patient relations; communication; body image; qualitative research; interaction analysis; framing head and neck cancer; physician–patient relations; communication; body image; qualitative research; interaction analysis; framing
MDPI and ACS Style

Cherba, M.; Brummans, B.H.J.M.; Hier, M.P.; Giguère, L.; Chartier, G.; Jacobs, H.; Forest, V.-I.; Mlynarek, A.; Sultanem, K.; Henry, M. Framing Concerns about Body Image during Pre- and Post-Surgical Consultations for Head and Neck Cancer: A Qualitative Study of Patient–Physician Interactions. Curr. Oncol. 2022, 29, 3341-3363. https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29050272

AMA Style

Cherba M, Brummans BHJM, Hier MP, Giguère L, Chartier G, Jacobs H, Forest V-I, Mlynarek A, Sultanem K, Henry M. Framing Concerns about Body Image during Pre- and Post-Surgical Consultations for Head and Neck Cancer: A Qualitative Study of Patient–Physician Interactions. Current Oncology. 2022; 29(5):3341-3363. https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29050272

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cherba, Maria, Boris H.J.M. Brummans, Michael P. Hier, Lauriane Giguère, Gabrielle Chartier, Hannah Jacobs, Véronique-Isabelle Forest, Alex Mlynarek, Khalil Sultanem, and Melissa Henry. 2022. "Framing Concerns about Body Image during Pre- and Post-Surgical Consultations for Head and Neck Cancer: A Qualitative Study of Patient–Physician Interactions" Current Oncology 29, no. 5: 3341-3363. https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29050272

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