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24.04.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2020

Supportive Care in Cancer 1/2020

Responses to a cancer diagnosis: a qualitative patient-centred interview study

Zeitschrift:
Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2020
Autoren:
Emma R. Kirby, Katherine E. Kenny, Alexander F. Broom, John L. Oliffe, Sophie Lewis, David K. Wyld, Patsy M. Yates, Rhiannon B. Parker, Zarnie Lwin
Wichtige Hinweise

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Abstract

Purpose

A cancer diagnosis is an emotive and challenging time for patients. This study aimed to systematically explore patients’ accounts of experiencing their cancer diagnosis. The purpose of this article is to offer a typology of patient responses to receiving a cancer diagnosis as a means through which to affirm the range of patients’ experiences and to guide clinicians’ practice.

Methods

Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted between 2015 and 2017 with 80 patients living with cancer: 34 females and 46 males, aged between 31 and 85, diagnosed with a range of cancer types, stages and treatment trajectories, from two metropolitan hospitals on the east coast of Australia. Interview data were analysed thematically, using the framework approach.

Results

A typology of responses to the cancer diagnosis was derived from the analysis and included (1) the incongruent diagnosis, unexpected because it did not ‘fit’ with the patient’s ‘healthy’ identity; (2) the incidental diagnosis, arising from seemingly unrelated or minor medical investigations; (3) the validating diagnosis, as explanation and confirmation of previously unexplained symptoms, pain or feelings; (4) the life context diagnosis, where the cancer diagnosis was positioned relative to other challenging life events, or as relatively inconsequential compared with the hardship of others.

Conclusions

A diagnosis of cancer is not always (or only) experienced by patients with shock and despair. Diagnosis is perceived and experienced in diverse ways, shaped by broader social or life contexts, and with important implications for the clinical encounter and communication from an oncology perspective.

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