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Hematology. 2005;10 Suppl 1:325-8.

Cancer and the treatment: does it make sense to patients?

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  • 1Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK.


This presentation begins to discuss the findings of an ongoing doctoral study that arose as the result of clinical experience, previous studies and ongoing reflection. Building on the work of Frankl this study explores the search for meaning in the context of living with cancer. In this study people with cancer share their experience of trying to make sense of their disease and the treatments they underwent. Some of the findings that have begun to emerge include: the search for meaning is ongoing, multifaceted and may be lived out in a variety of ways, living with cancer and the treatment it demands brings many changes some of which lead to a sense of loss of control, there are a multitude of relationships involved which may help or cause distress to the person dealing with cancer, the health care team while often supportive sometimes failed to see the needs of those they cared for, while people with cancer value the expertise and knowledge of the health care team they also want the team to demonstrate compassion and sensitivity while delivering care and information, while a few people had found particular meaning to aspects of their experience all recognized that the ongoing process of searching to find meaning continues after treatment finishes. It is hoped that by listening to the experiences of these individual people living with cancer the insights gained will support the health care team in their efforts to help those undergoing treatment for cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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