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      Are patients open to elective re-sampling of their glioblastoma? A new way of assessing treatment innovations

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          This is a qualitative study designed to examine patient acceptability of re-sampling surgery for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) electively post-therapy or at asymptomatic relapse.


          Thirty patients were selected using the convenience sampling method and interviewed. Patients were presented with hypothetical scenarios including a scenario in which the surgery was offered to them routinely and a scenario in which the surgery was in a clinical trial.


          The results of the study suggest that about two thirds of the patients offered the surgery on a routine basis would be interested, and half of the patients would agree to the surgery as part of a clinical trial. Several overarching themes emerged, some of which include: patients expressed ethical concerns about offering financial incentives or compensation to the patients or surgeons involved in the study; patients were concerned about appropriate communication and full disclosure about the procedures involved, the legalities of tumor ownership and the use of the tumor post-surgery; patients may feel alone or vulnerable when they are approached about the surgery; patients and their families expressed immense trust in their surgeon and indicated that this trust is a major determinant of their agreeing to surgery.


          The overall positive response to re-sampling surgery suggests that this procedure, if designed with all the ethical concerns attended to, would be welcomed by most patients. This approach of asking patients beforehand if a treatment innovation is acceptable would appear to be more practical and ethically desirable than previous practice.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Posttraumatic stress symptoms during treatment in parents of children with cancer.

          The conceptualization of childhood cancer and its treatment as traumatic has gained increasing support in the growing literature on medically related posttraumatic stress. Posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) such as intrusive thoughts, physiologic arousal, and avoidance have been documented in mothers and fathers of childhood cancer survivors. In this study we investigated the presence of PTSS in parents of children currently in treatment and their association with treatment intensity and length of time since diagnosis. Mothers (N = 119) and fathers (N = 52) of children currently in treatment for a childhood malignancy completed questionnaire measures of PTSS. Outcomes on these measures were compared with a sample of parents of childhood cancer survivors from our hospital. Oncologist ratings of treatment intensity were obtained based on diagnosis, treatment modalities, and protocol number. All but one parent reported PTSS. Mean scores indicated moderate PTSS for both mothers and fathers. In families with two participating parents, nearly 80% had at least one parent with moderate-to-severe PTSS. There were minimal associations between PTSS and length of time since diagnosis. PTSS are common among parents of children currently undergoing cancer treatment. Trauma-informed psychosocial interventions can be used to help patients and families, including normalizing the experience as potentially traumatic and using evidence-based interventions that are emerging to facilitate long-term well-being.
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            Caring for the brain tumor patient: family caregiver burden and unmet needs.

            The rapid onset and progression of a brain tumor, cognitive and behavioral changes, and uncertainty surrounding prognosis are issues well known to health practitioners in neuro-oncology. We studied the specific challenges that family caregivers face when caring for patients experiencing the significant neurocognitive and neurobehavioral disorders associated with brain tumors. We selected 25 family caregivers of adult brain tumor patients to represent the brain tumor illness trajectory (crisis, chronic, and terminal phases). Interviews documented caregiving tasks and decision-making and information and support needs. Themes were permitted to emerge from the data in qualitative analysis. We found that the family caregivers in this study provided extraordinary uncompensated care involving significant amounts of time and energy for months or years and requiring the performance of tasks that were often physically, emotionally, socially, or financially demanding. They were constantly challenged to solve problems and make decisions as care needs changed, yet they felt untrained and unprepared as they struggled to adjust to new roles and responsibilities. Because the focus was on the patient, their own needs were neglected. Because caregiver information needs are emergent, they are not always known at the time of a clinic visit. Physicians are frequently unable to address caregiver questions, a situation compounded by time constraints and cultural barriers. We provide specific recommendations for (1) improving the delivery of information; (2) enhancing communication among patients, families, and health care providers; and (3) providing psychosocial support for family caregivers.
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              Perioperative complications and neurological outcomes of first and second craniotomies among patients enrolled in the Glioma Outcome Project.

              In many new clinical trials of patients with malignant gliomas surgical intervention is incorporated as an integral part of tumor-directed interstitial therapies such as gene therapy, biodegradable wafer placement, and immunotherapy. Assessment of toxicity is a major component of evaluating these novel therapeutic interventions, but this must be done in light of known complication rates of craniotomy for tumor resection. Factors predicting neurological outcome would also be helpful for patient selection for surgically based clinical trials. The Glioma Outcome Project is a prospectively compiled database containing information on 788 patients with malignant gliomas that captured clinical practice patterns and patient outcomes. Patients in this series who underwent their first or second craniotomy were analyzed separately for presenting symptoms, tumor and patient characteristics, and perioperative complications. Preoperative and intraoperative factors possibly related to neurological outcome were evaluated. There were 408 patients who underwent first craniotomies (C1 group) and 91 patients who underwent second ones (C2 group). Both groups had similar patient and tumor characteristics except for their median age (55 years in the C1 group compared with 50 years in the C2 group; p = 0.006). Headache was more common at presentation in the C1 group, whereas papilledema and an altered level of consciousness were more common at presentation in patients undergoing second surgeries. Perioperative complications occurred in 24% of patients in the C1 group and 33% of patients in the C2 group (p = 0.1). Most patients were the same or better neurologically after surgery, but more patients in the C2 group (18%) displayed a worsened neurological status than those in the C1 group (8%; p = 0.007). The Karnofsky Performance Scale score and, in patients in the C2 group, tumor size were important neurological outcome predictors. Regional complications occurred at similar rates in both groups. Systemic infections occurred more frequently in the C2 group (4.4 compared with 0%; p < 0.0001) as did depression (20 compared with 11%; p = 0.02). The perioperative mortality rate was 1.5% for the C1 group and 2.2% for the C2 group (p = not significant). The median length of the hospital stay was 4 days in each group. Perioperative complications occur slightly more often following a second craniotomy for malignant glioma than after the first craniotomy. This should be considered when evaluating toxicities from intraoperative local therapies requiring craniotomy. Nevertheless, most patients are neurologically stable or improved after either their first or second craniotomy. This data set may serve as a benchmark for neurosurgeons and others in a discussion of operative risks in patients with malignant gliomas.

                Author and article information

                +1-306-2412974 ,
                +1-416-6036499 ,
                Acta Neurochir (Wien)
                Acta Neurochir (Wien)
                Acta Neurochirurgica
                Springer Vienna (Vienna )
                2 August 2014
                2 August 2014
                : 156
                : 10
                : 1855-1863
                [ ]Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, West Wing, 4th Floor Rm 4 W448, 399 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON M5T2S8 Canada
                [ ]The Hospital for Sick Children, 444 University Ave., Toronto, ON M5G1X8 Canada
                [ ]Princess Margaret Cancer Center, 18th Floor Rm. 717, 610 University Ave., Toronto, ON M5G2M9 Canada
                © The Author(s) 2014

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

                Clinical Article - Brain Tumors
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                © Springer-Verlag Wien 2014


                re-sampling, qualitative research, innovation, glioblastoma, ethics, asymptomatic relapse


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