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The distinct experience of supportive care needs among cervical cancer patients: A qualitative study.

Tumori 2023 August
INTRODUCTION: Patients with cervical cancer report experiencing physical, psychological, economic, and social problems daily. An exploration of supportive care needs is important for patients and their families to cope with diagnosis, treatment, recovery or even death.

OBJECTIVE: This study explores the perceived supportive care needs of Nepali patients with cervical cancer who are undergoing cancer treatment.

METHODS: A descriptive qualitative research design was utilized with semi-structured interviews to probe patients with cervical cancer's supportive care needs. The study was conducted at a cancer-specific hospital in Nepal. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 30 patients with cervical cancer. Qualitative thematic analysis techniques were employed to identify the supportive care needs of Nepalese patients with cervical cancer.

RESULTS: Supportive care needs were identified with five main themes and sixteen sub-themes: 1) psychological trauma (regret on delaying medical consultation, fear of disease, death and dying, ambivalence about the future and treatment, feeling of loss, caring/rearing of children, feeling and burden to partner/family); 2) financial distress (loss of income and challenges with treatment costs); 3) sexual disharmony; 4) physical dependency on others for day-to-day care and; 5) hunger for information (cause of disease, prognosis of disease, dietary counseling, and information on sexuality).

CONCLUSION: Recognizing the supportive care needs of patients with cervical cancer during treatment by health care professional and family members is vital to facilitate optimal care at the hospital and home for overall improvement in the patient's quality of life. Acknowledgment that the expensive treatment regime creates an economic and psychological burden for the patients.

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