Qualitatively comparing the support needs of people with cancer based on their history of anxiety/ depression
Introduction: Research rarely considers the origin or history of a cancer patient’s anxiety and/or depression, instead assuming that these illnesses are related to the cancer experience. The aim of this study was to compare differences in the support needs of people who have experienced anxiety/depression as part of the cancer experience and people who have not, as well as between people who have experienced episodic anxiety/depression and people who have experienced long-term anxiety/depression.
Methods: Twenty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with people with a current or previous diagnosis of cancer, and a current or previous experience with anxiety and/or depression. Participants were split into four groups based on their history with cancer and anxiety/depression, and an inductive thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes across groups.
Results: Two superordinate themes (with three and two subordinate themes respectively) were found: ‘coping with cancer’ and ‘health care system support provision’. Important differences were found across groups, with participants who had a history of anxiety/depression that was unrelated to their cancer diagnosis coping better with the combined burden of cancer and anxiety/depression, experiencing less fear of cancer recurrence, and highlighting more positive hospital and support service related experiences, than those whose anxiety/depression was cancer related.
Conclusion: The origin and history of a person’s anxiety/depression is important to consider when determining how they might cope with cancer, what their support needs are, and how much support they may require.
Publication titleOncology and Therapy
Department/SchoolSchool of Psychological Sciences
Place of publicationUnited States
Rights statementThe Author(s) 2017. Licensed under Creative Commonns Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/