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J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2008 Jul-Aug;25(4):193-9. doi: 10.1177/1043454208319972. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Talking with others who "just know": perceptions of adolescents with cancer who participate in a teen group.

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  • 1Pediatric Oncology, McMaster Children's Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Adolescents with cancer have social support needs that are challenging to meet. A qualitative descriptive study was done using in-person interviews with 11 participants between the ages of 14 and 20. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe adolescent's perceptions of a teen support group. Two main themes emerged: Satisfying Elements and Challenges in the teen group. The subthemes under Satisfying Elements include participants being able to talk to others who "just know," sharing experiences while having fun as a normal teenager, and giving or receiving inspiration. Subthemes under Challenges as identified by participants include ensuring that activities during teen events meet the needs of all participants and dealing with the death of a group member. Study findings suggest that adolescent's feel supported when they are among others in similar circumstances while engaging in normal activity. Offering this type of group for adolescents with cancer provides them with the ongoing opportunities for connection with their peers that is often needed throughout the treatment journey.

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