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Place of death of adolescents and young adults with cancer: First study in a French population

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 February 2009

Sebastien Montel*
Psycho-Oncology Department, Institut Curie, Paris, France
Valerie Laurence
Medical Oncology Department, Institut Curie, Paris, France
Laure Copel
Supportive Care Department, Institut Curie, Paris, France
Helene Pacquement
Pediatric Oncology Department, Institut Curie, Paris, France
Cecile Flahault
Psycho-Oncology Department, Institut Curie, Paris, France
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Montel Sébastien, UPO, 25 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France. E-mail:



To improve the palliative care and more effectively meet the needs of young patients and their families at the end of life, the authors investigated the place of death of adolescents and young adults treated in their institution and identified some of the factors influencing the choice of place of death.


The parents and/or partners of adolescents and young adults (15 to 25 years old) who died at Institut Curie (cancer center) between 2000 and 2003 were contacted. Twenty-one families agreed to participate in the interview between October 2005 and April 2006. Analysis of the interviews comprised a descriptive part and a thematic part.


Nineteen out of 21 (90%) families declared that they did not really choose their child's place of death due to lack of time. However, all families said that they preferred the hospital. No family attended a bereavement group after their child's death and only 3 families (14%) consulted a mental health care professional. Thematic analysis showed that representations and beliefs concerning life and death at least partly determined the family's capacity to discuss the place of death with their child.

Significance of results:

Although progress has been made over recent years in France, there is still considerable room for improvement of palliative care to more effectively meet the needs of young patients and their families at the end of life.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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