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Indian J Palliat Care. 2019 Jan-Mar;25(1):103-109. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_118_18.

How Patients of Oral Cancer Cope Up with Impact of the Disease? A Qualitative Study in Central India.

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Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha, Maharashtra, India.



Oral cancer is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in India. The disease per se and side effects of different treatment modalities impart a negative physical and psychosocial impact on the patients. This study was designed to have a better understanding of patients concerns.

Materials and Methods:

This is a qualitative study using in-depth interviews on 24 purposively selected oral cancer patients who have completed their treatment. The study was conducted from January 2016 to September 2017 in both urban and rural community development block in a district in Central India. Participants were selected irrespective of age, sex, occupation, education, stage of disease, and treatments received. The recorded interviews were transcribed for analysis, done using ATLAS ti. The study was conducted after ethical approval.


Concerns regarding quality of life, social constraints, financial security, and eating problems were the four major themes, which evolved from the analysis. Emotional and physical distress, disfigurement, dependency, feeling blamed, and avoidance are the evolved subthemes that had a negative psychosocial impact. Spiritualism, acceptance of the disease and increased public attention and support are the factors that increase the confidence among the cancer patients.


Quality of life of oral cancer patients should be given prime focus along with continuum of care starting from early means of diagnosis by screening to treatment completion. Nevertheless, it is the family support that seems to play the most vital role in helping cancer patients cope up with the problems.


Impact on patients; oral cancer; qualitative analysis; quality of life

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