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Support Care Cancer. 1997 Mar;5(2):118-25.

Tak Tent. Studies conducted in a cancer support group.

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Department of Public Health, University of Glasgow, UK.


A descriptive study using two interviewer-administered questionnaires was conducted with the aim of getting to know more about cancer support groups and the people who are using these services. All 71 patients and relatives attending six cancer support groups in the West of Scotland at the time of the investigation were interviewed. They were asked about their satisfaction with care and support, past and current concerns, global health and quality of life, and needs. The majority of participants were married women, middle class, aged 50-65 years old, and were long-time survivors. Fifty-two per cent of cancer patients and 70% of relatives of cancer patients stated that they were very satisfied with support were receiving. Nearly 90% of patients reported that they did not receive any counselling either during their pretreatment from their cancer specialists or latter from a professional counsellor. The "general perceived health" and "global quality of life" among patients and relatives were found to be moderately good or good. Concerns of patients and relatives were studied. Patients reported optimistic changes, while relatives were more negative. Needs assessment indicated that 52% of patients require symptom relief and family support, whereas 53% of relatives need counselling from a professional counsellor and informational support. One-third of patients reported that they had no problems at present, and the rest identified difficulties with home duties, shopping and transportation, and financial problems. The study suggests that there is value in encouraging cancer patients and their relatives to take part in existing cancer support groups. This may help to reduce the burden of disease and the care-burden imposed on families.

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