An evaluation of the information needs of radiotherapy patients and their families

Rebecca Durnin, Paul Shepherd, Terri Gilleece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose:To evaluate the information needs of radiotherapy patients and their families. To explore influential factors regarding information-seeking behaviours. To identify the preferred formats of information and the optimum time for radiotherapy patients to receive information. To assess the implications for clinical practice in satisfying patient information needs.Method:A Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature database search of literature was undertaken and publications screened for retrieval with 36 qualifying for inclusion in the evaluation.Results:There was inconclusive evidence exploring the impact that patient age, diagnosis, family background, and educational status had on the information-seeking behaviours and preferences of cancer patients. There is an agreement that there are positive and negative benefits of using different formats of information: verbal, written, virtual, and so on, and ultimately healthcare providers must utilise a combination of information formats to satisfy the information needs and preferences of individual patients. Inconsistent data were found on the optimum time to deliver cancer information to patients and professionals, and therapeutic radiographers should not assume that their information priorities are the same as those of their patients - every patient has unique and individually specific information needs.Conclusion:The information needs of patients and families are dependent on individual circumstances, and priorities have a tendency to change during the cancer management journey, presenting huge challenges for therapeutic radiographers who are required to regularly reassess and satisfy the varying needs and preferences. More research is needed within the area of information needs and preferences for cancer patients receiving radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Radiotherapy in Practice
Early online date9 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Jul 2020


  • Information Needs
  • Cancer Patients
  • Cancer Patients’ Families
  • Radiotherapy


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