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Acta Oncol. 2011 Feb;50(2):205-11. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2010.536165.

Coping with cancer: The perspective of patients' relatives.

Author information

1
Department of Social Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. mariet.hagedoorn@med.umcg.nl

Abstract

Cancer affects not only patients but also their loved ones.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

This paper presents a selective, narrative review of psychosocial consequences of cancer and its treatment for relatives of patients, including parents and siblings of children with cancer, children of parents with cancer and partners of adults with cancer.

RESULTS:

Remarkably, most relatives adapt well to the cancer of a loved one. That is only a minority appears to be at risk for psychological morbidity. Bereavement has been found to impact psychological well being in the short-term, but it does also not appear to be a major risk factor for severe psychopathology. The exception being the loss of a child; this often appears to have intense and long-lasting effects on the parents. Furthermore, especially women were found to be at risk for distress.

CONCLUSION:

Future studies that focus on the interactions between patients and family members - parents, children and partners - are of great importance to further the field by providing more insight into the family dynamics of dealing with cancer. Such insights will offer tools for (refining) interventions for families in need.

PMID:
21231782
DOI:
10.3109/0284186X.2010.536165
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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