Researching the Experiences of Children with Cancer: Considerations for Practice
Children and adolescents with cancer often participate in medical and psychosocial research throughout their diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, this involvement frequently extends into the survivorship period. Sometimes referred to as "doubly vulnerable" research participants, children and adolescents with cancer are not only minors, but also minors facing significant medical, developmental, and psychosocial stressors associated with chronic illness. Thus, it is important to exercise care in designing and conducting research with this population; however, these considerations have not been adequately addressed in pediatric healthcare literature. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to describe the research preferences and experiences of children and adolescents with cancer to identify techniques for supporting this population as research participants. By incorporating developmentally appropriate, context-specific, and child-centered adjustments, researchers can help children and adolescents with cancer effectively and meaningfully describe their illness experiences while also developing a positive outlook on future research participation.