Talking About Maternal Breast Cancer With Young Children: A Content Analysis of Text in Children’s Books


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Abstract

Objective Examine the content of children’s books and summarize the main issues related to communication with young children about maternal cancer, especially breast cancer. Methods A search of English books discussing early-stage (breast) cancer and written for children aged 3–12 years was conducted on the Amazon.com Web site. Each of 45 identified books was analyzed independently by two of three coders using inductive qualitative content analysis. Results The main contents of these books included cancer-related knowledge, impacts of maternal cancer, and coping strategies. The concept of (breast) cancer and its treatment was introduced in plain language and some common misunderstandings were clarified. The consequences of maternal cancer were highlighted. Conclusions These books are beneficial to children and adults. However, impacts on school life, children’s concerns about financial burdens, and instructions about age-appropriate use of the books have been neglected. Additional studies should be undertaken to explore the value of these books.

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