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Adolescents with cancer felt supported by connecting with others in similar circumstances through a teen support group

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J Cassano

Ms J Cassano, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada;


What are adolescents’ perceptions of a teen support group for cancer?


Qualitative descriptive study.


A paediatric oncology treatment centre in Ontario, Canada.


Purposeful sample of 11 adolescents 14–20 years of age (mean age 16 y, 55% men) who had cancer and were part of a teen support group.


Adolescents participated in individual interviews lasting 20–45 minutes. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed, coded, and analysed for themes; field notes were also analysed. To increase trustworthiness, researchers analysed data individually and then had group discussions to arrive at a common meaning of the data.


2 themes described adolescents’ perceptions of a teen support group for cancer: (1) satisfying elements and (2) challenges. (1) Satisfying elements involved 3 subthemes. (a) Talking to others who “just know.” Adolescents with cancer felt an instant connection and comfort level with same-age peers who had similar experiences. They found it easier to discuss cancer-related topics within the group than with friends who did not have cancer. Discussions provided support when adolescents …

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  • Source of funding: teen events funded by Help A Child Smile.