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08.12.2018 | Ausgabe 1/2019

Journal of Cancer Survivorship 1/2019

Integrating self-management into daily life following primary treatment: head and neck cancer survivors’ perspectives

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Cancer Survivorship > Ausgabe 1/2019
Autoren:
Simon Dunne, Laura Coffey, Linda Sharp, Deirdre Desmond, Rachael Gooberman-Hill, Eleanor O’Sullivan, Aileen Timmons, Ivan Keogh, Conrad Timon, Pamela Gallagher
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Abstract

Background

Self-management may help cancer survivors to better deal with challenges to their physical, functional, social and psychological well-being presented by cancer and its treatment. Nonetheless, little is known about how people integrate cancer self-management practices into their daily lives. The aim of this study was to describe and characterise the processes through which head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors attempt to integrate self-management into their daily lives following primary treatment.

Methods

Using a purposeful critical case sampling method, 27 HNC survivors were identified through four designated cancer centres in Ireland and participated in face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

Results

Six themes describing HNC survivors’ attempts to integrate self-management into their lives following treatment were identified: grappling with having to self-manage, trying out self-management strategies, becoming an expert self-manager, struggling to integrate self-management strategies into daily life, avoiding recommended self-management and interpreting self-management.

Conclusions

This is the first study to describe HNC survivors’ attempts to integrate self-management into their daily lives following primary treatment. The findings indicate that HNC survivors exhibit highly individualised approaches to self-management integration and abandon self-management strategies that fail to meet their own specific needs.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Survivors may benefit from skills training and structured support to assist their transition between in-patient care and having to self-manage after primary treatment, and/or ongoing support to deal with persistent and recurring challenges such as eating difficulties and fear of recurrence.

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