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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 143-149

Emotions and coping of patients with head and neck cancers after diagnosis: A qualitative content analysis

1 Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Centre for Disability Studies and Action, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
A Jagannathan
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.184273

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Background and Rationale: Patients suffering with head and neck cancers are observed to have a relatively high risk of developing emotional disturbances after diagnosis and treatment. These emotional concerns can be best understood and explored through the method of content analysis or qualitative data. Though a number of qualitative studies have been conducted in the last few years in the field of psychosocial oncology, none have looked at the emotions experienced and the coping by head and neck cancer patients. Materials and Methods: Seventy-five new cases of postsurgery patients of head and neck cancers were qualitatively interviewed regarding the emotions experienced and coping strategies after diagnosis. Results: Qualitative content analysis of the in-depth interviews brought out that patients experienced varied emotions on realizing that they were suffering from cancer, the cause of which could be mainly attributed to three themes: 1) knowledge of their illness; 2) duration of untreated illness; and 3) object of blame. They coped with their emotions by either: 1) inculcating a positive attitude and faith in the doctor/treatment, 2) ventilating their emotions with family and friends, or 3) indulging in activities to divert attention. Conclusion: The results brought out a conceptual framework, which showed that an in-depth understanding of the emotions - Their root cause, coping strategies, and spiritual and cultural orientations of the cancer survivor - Is essential to develop any effective intervention program in India.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow