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Research project: Self management of problems experienced following primary cancer treatment: An exploratory study - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active: 

People affected by cancer have indicated the importance of support with managing day to day problems associated with cancer and treatment. Patients participating in consultation groups across the UK identified this as the most important area for research. Having an active role in managing a long term condition is viewed as important as it can empower patients to act for themselves, increase confidence in their ability to manage problems associated with their condition and its treatment and enhance quality of life. This active role, which has several components, has been called self management.

Self management is poorly defined in cancer. Although people are indicating that they would like support with day to day problems associated with cancer and its treatment, there is little research evidence detailing how people self manage problems, how this might be supported in practice, and whether self managing problems is associated with benefits such as enhanced quality of life, or greater confidence to manage problems. Patients often undergo physically and emotionally demanding cancer treatment and many people report continued problems following treatment which can have an impact on daily life. The end of treatment can be a challenging time and people may find it difficult to resume ‘normal life', experience physical, psycho-social and practical difficulties as a result of their cancer and its treatment, feel uncertain about what the future holds and may miss reassurance provided by healthcare staff during treatment.

This study aimed to gather accounts of patients' strategies used to self manage problems arising between 6 and 12 months following completion of primary cancer treatment.

The study highlighted the wide range of problems cancer survivors can experience. These problems can be physical, psychological, social and practical experienced across a range of cancer types, and age groups. The importance of self management support in the year following primary treatment has been illustrated; the assistance survivors receive from health professionals, family, friends and others. Further to this, many self management strategies have been highlighted. Participants found many ways to self manage and these were in the domains of psychological, social and physical strategies and imaginative and determined action was demonstrated.

Recommendations for supporting self management of problems after cancer treatment in order to enhance the survivorship experience following cancer have been made.

Project team

Claire Foster
Liz Roffe
Issy Scott
Phil Cotterell

Project funder

Macmillan Cancer Support

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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