BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Patients may experience clinically relevant anxiety at their first radiotherapy (RT) sessions. To date, studies have not investigated during/around the RT simulation the key communication and communication-related predictors of this clinically relevant anxiety. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Breast cancer patients (n=227) completed visual analog scale (VAS) assessments of anxiety before and after their first RT sessions. Clinically relevant anxiety was defined as having pre- and post-first RT session VAS scores 4cm. Communication during RT simulation was assessed with content analysis software (LaComm), and communication-related variables around the RT simulation were assessed with questionnaires. RESULTS: Clinically relevant anxiety at the first RT session was predicted by lower self-efficacy to communicate with the RT team (OR=0.65; p=0.020), the perception of lower support received from the RT team (OR=0.70; p=0.020), lower knowledge of RT-associated side effects (OR=0.95; p=0.057), and higher use of emotion-focused coping (OR=1.09; p=0.013). CONCLUSIONS: This study provides RT team members with information about potential communication strategies, which may be used to reduce patient anxiety at the first RT session.Peer reviewe
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