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Women with gynecological cancer have been reported as very high users of complementary medicine. The goal of our study was to explore the perceptions of patients with an advanced gynecological cancer who use naturopathy as complementary medicine. We were looking more specifically at patients' opinions on the effect of naturopathy on their quality of life and its relation to conventional oncological treatments.
This pilot qualitative study used semistructured interviews, and data were analyzed using grounded theory and qualitative methods. The main criterion for inclusion in the study was the use of naturopathy as a treatment complementary to conventional cancer treatment for gynecological metastatic cancer on the oncology day care unit.
Six patients were included until data saturation. They express the physical and psychological impact of treatments and disease. Usually, chemotherapy is perceived as something that may be curative or may at least lead to remission. Unlike conventional treatments, naturopathy is not perceived as drugs, and it is seen as a way to relieve symptoms, improve well-being, and as a way of enabling them to take an active decision-making role in their care journey. Patients want to have more information about naturopathy.
Significance of Results:
This study suggests that patients are aware of the benefits of a specific cancer treatment as chemotherapy, but they resort to naturopathy for symptom control, and also to take a more active role during treatment.
Our study aimed at examining nurses' perceptions of depression in cancer patients and their role in its management.
We employed questionnaire-based semi-directed interviews. Participants were asked to classify 22 symptoms (related and specific to depression in cancer patients, related but not specific, and unrelated) as “very important,” “important,” “less important,” or “not important” for the diagnosis of depression in cancer patients at two different timepoints (baseline and after a video education program). They were also asked to complete a questionnaire exploring their perceptions about depression and of their role in its systematic screening. We recruited nurses caring for cancer patients from four different departments (palliative care unit, hematology, medical oncology, and thoracic oncology) at an academic medical center.
We interviewed 18 nurses and found that they had a good general knowledge of depression in cancer patients, with the majority of them being able to distinguish specific and important symptoms from nonspecific symptoms. Some nurses considered depression as a second-line symptom, and most did not employ a screening tool in their daily practice. All considered that they had a role to play in the management of depression, even as they acknowledged lacking specific training for that task.
Significance of results:
Our results suggest that limited resources—especially lack of training—affects nurses' ability to correctly manage depression in their cancer patients.
Depression is a serious issue for cancer patients, resulting in impaired quality of life and probably shorter survival. However, many cancer patients with depression are not treated because of the difficulties in identifying depression within this population. Our study aimed to examine caregivers' perceptions of depression among advanced cancer patients.
This qualitative study employed semistructured interviews, and we analyzed data using grounded theory and qualitative methods. We recruited caregivers from our palliative care unit (PCU) at an academic medical center.
We interviewed a total of 15 caregivers. Cancer patients' caregivers had a good theoretical knowledge of depression but also acknowledged that, in the context of cancer and because of their relationship with the patient, identification of depressive symptoms could be challenging. They considered themselves as partners in the patient's care with a supportive role. However, by assuming the role of partner in patient care, caregivers exposed themselves to emotional difficulties and an increased need for support and information.
Significance of Results:
Our results suggest a significant impact of depression in advanced cancer caregivers, and it is therefore crucial that healthcare professionals develop educational programs targeting cancer patients' families as well as specific interventions to minimize the impact of the burden of patient care on caregivers.
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