Coping with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: a qualitative study of patient perceptions and supportive care needs whilst undergoing chemotherapy

Abstract

Research to date on patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has focused on the physical and psychological impact of undergoing chemotherapy. However, there is a dearth of studies targeting the coping strategies in this patient group. This article addresses the dearth in literature by exploring the coping strategies and supportive care needs of patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma whilst undergoing chemotherapy. An exploratory qualitative phenomenological design was used. Six adult patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and who were receiving chemotherapy were each interviewed twice using semi-structured interviews, which were audio-recorded. The data was transcribed verbatim and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Four themes emerged which outline how patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cope with the challenges of undergoing chemotherapy. These are as follows: ‘Interpreting life through a different lens’, ‘Wearing a mask’, ‘Suppressing thoughts about chemotherapy’ and ‘Support along the journey’. This article provides insight into the coping strategies and supportive care needs of patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and who are undergoing chemotherapy. Some participants described attributing a new meaning to life, while others tried suppressing thoughts about cancer and chemotherapy. Additionally, some participants described hiding their true feelings by ‘wearing a mask’ in an effort to avoid distressing their families and consequently themselves. Nevertheless, all the participants emphasised the importance of support from health care providers, family and friends. These results provide insight which may guide future support services and interventional research aimed at assisting patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to cope with the challenges of undergoing chemotherapy.

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-017-3649-0

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Cite this paper

@article{Chircop2017CopingWN, title={Coping with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: a qualitative study of patient perceptions and supportive care needs whilst undergoing chemotherapy}, author={Daren Chircop and Josianne Scerri}, journal={Supportive Care in Cancer}, year={2017}, volume={25}, pages={2429-2435} }