Author(s): Moore RJ, Chamberlain RM, Khuri FR
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Abstract The findings presented contribute to quality of life (QOL) research by highlighting the significance of factors affecting the communication by patients with primary-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck cancer (SCCHN) of their experiences of suffering after treatment to their clinicians. Qualitative research methodology based on open-ended interviews with 18 survivors of American Joint Committee on Cancer primary stage I and II SCCHN were used. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed. Three important themes emerged: (1). a diminished self (2). fears of addiction, and (3). hopelessness and the loss of meaning in life after SCCHN. The findings indicate that SCCHN patients under-report their experiences mainly due to fear. As a consequence, and perhaps due to a failure on the part of clinicians and patients to adequately address such fears, SCCHN patients may experience greater psychological morbidity, becoming increasingly fatalistic about biomedicine's ability to restore them to health after cancer despite being "cured", or to relieve related symptoms. This qualitative study provides a perspective as to why such under-reporting occurs, thereby potentially enhancing clinician-patient communication and the QOL of SCCHN patients who present with curable disease.
This article was published in Support Care Cancer
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology