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Development, acceptability and feasibility of a communication skills training package for therapeutic radiographers to reduce fear of recurrence development in breast cancer patients (FORECAST2)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Many patients who have been treated for breast cancer experience high levels of fear that the cancer will return. The FORECAST pilot study showed that for a third of the patients, fears of cancer recurrence (FCR) increase during radiotherapy treatment and that conversations with their therapeutic radiographer at the weekly review meetings might help patients manage these concerns. This study aims to develop a communication skills training package (KEW, for ‘Know’, ‘Encourage’, and ‘Warm-up’) for therapeutic radiographers based on the findings of the FORECAST pilot study and on active input from patients and radiographers. This package will be piloted in a single centre to evaluate its acceptability and to prepare for a multi-centre clinical trial.
The study consists of three phases. In the first phase, patient representatives and therapeutic radiographers participate in Experience-Based Co-Design to identify ways to improve communication during the radiotherapy review. In the second phase, various stakeholders, including members of the Society of Radiographers and of national patient representation groups are consulted to develop a storyboard for the production of the communication training package. In the third phase, the acceptability and feasibility of the training is evaluated through observations, recruitment rates and follow-up discussions; a fidelity measure is designed; and potential benefits are observed, with patients’ fear of cancer recurrence (FCR7) as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes include a short daily measure of recurrence (FCR3), patients’ positive and negative affect (PANAS), perceived empathy from the radiographer (CARE), satisfaction with the review meetings (RISS) and health-related quality of life (EQ-5D-3L).
To date there has been limited research on how communication between therapeutic radiographers and patients during review appointments can help to manage patients’ recurrence fears during radiotherapy treatment. A collaborative and participatory approach to the development of a communication skills training will ensure that it is optimally targeted to the needs and preferences of both patients and radiographers. Targeting recurrence fears through communication at this stage, when patients are still in regular contact with healthcare providers, has the potential to reduce the need for complex interventions post-treatment.


Original languageEnglish
Article number148
Number of pages7
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2018

    Research areas

  • Communication, Emotional regulation, Fear of cancer recurrence, Breast cancer, Co-design, Acceptability

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