The number of people living with and beyond cancer is increasing (Linden, Love, Bowman and Maher, 2016). The nature of cancer and its treatment means a significant number of these people will experience the long-term and late effects of cancer. Research into the experiences of this group has been identified as a priority (James Lind Alliance, 2018) to better understand healthcare needs.
This review systematically sourced, analysed and synthesised qualitative research data relating to people living beyond cancer who experience the consequences of cancer and its treatment.
The protocol for this review is registered on the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, PROSPERO CRD42019142544. A systematic search of literature via electronic databases was conducted in July 2019. Literature was identified that explored the experience of adults living beyond cancer from their own perspective. Data was extracted and analysed according to Thomas and Harden’s thematic synthesis approach (2008) to qualitative evidence synthesis.
Six articles were reviewed. Analysis and synthesis of the data identified three main themes were with four subthemes. 1) Living with an altered sense of self. 2) Things are never going to be quite the same again 2.1 the unexpected 2.2 the uncertain. 3) Ways of coping with the unexpected and the uncertain 3.1 drawing on internal resilience 3.2 the influence and impact of external relationships.
People living beyond acute cancer experience a range of biopsychosocial consequences of cancer and its treatment. The ongoing impact of cancer remains present long after treatment ends. Further research is needed to determine healthcare needs of this group and how services may best meet these needs.
James Lind Alliance (2018). Living with and beyond cancer PSP research priorities. James Lind Alliance. Available at http://www.jla.nihr.ac.uk/priority-setting-partnerships/living-with-and-beyond-cancer/downloads/Living-with-and-Beyond-Cancer-PSP-research-priorities.pdf [Accessed 24 June 2019].
Linden, D., Love, P., Bowman, E. & Maher, J. (2016). Managing the consequences of cancer treatment in primary care. British Journal of General Practice [online]. 66 (648), pp. 348-349. [Accessed 29 March 2019].
Thomas, J. & Harden, A. (2008). Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Medical Research Methodology [online]. 8 (45). [Accessed 19 June 2019].
Rogers, K., McCabe, C., & Dowling, S. (2020, February). What are the holistic experiences of adults living long-term with the consequences of cancer and its treatment? A qualitative evidence synthesis. Poster presented at British Psychosocial Oncology Society Conference, Edinburgh, UK