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The social and emotional toll of chemotherapy - Patients' perspectives

Mitchell, Theresa


Theresa Mitchell


The aim of this paper is to briefly describe the unique methodology employed by nine nurse researchers who conducted research into the social and emotional effects of chemotherapy from the patient's perspective, and to present four dominant themes. The research developed from discussions at a local UK Nurses Oncology Forum, during which nurses voiced their concern about the social and emotional implications for people receiving chemotherapy. It was anticipated that understanding the issues from the patient's perspective would assist nurses to reconsider and reshape the care provided, particularly in the chemotherapy clinic. Using principles of phenomenology, the nurse researchers collected data from participants using conversational-style interviews. Some participants kept diaries of chemotherapy experiences. These data were subsequently analysed using a modified phenomenological analysis framework. Nineteen people were recruited to the study, resulting in 98 interviews and seven diaries. Eight major themes emerged from the data: striving for normality, the role of significant others, feeling up - feeling down, flagging, being sociable, anxiety, the chemotherapy process, and participating in the research. Relationship dynamics, the perceived role of significant others and the frustrations associated with lack of concentration and memory loss are important findings that should influence nursing care and management. © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Mitchell, T., & Mitchell, T. (2007). The social and emotional toll of chemotherapy - Patients' perspectives. European Journal of Cancer Care, 16(1), 39-47.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Jan 1, 2007
Journal European Journal of Cancer Care
Print ISSN 0961-5423
Electronic ISSN 1365-2354
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 39-47
Keywords nursing, cancer, chemotherapy toxicity, psychosocial effects, patients' perspectives
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