Psychological distress and need for psycho-oncological support in spouses of total laryngectomised cancer patients—results for the first 3 years after surgery
BACKGROUND Cancer support groups provide information and coping resources as well as represent patients' interests. To date it is unknown how often cancer patients post-laryngectomy use support groups and in which parameters users of support groups differ from non-users. MATERIAL AND METHODS In a multicentre study, 224 laryngectomees were asked about their support group membership. Further, possible predictors for membership one year post-surgery were assessed. Data were collected with a semi-structured interview and standardized instruments. RESULTS Overall, 23% of the laryngectomized patients are actively involved in cancer support groups. The probability of a membership increases if patients are well-educated, are living in good economic conditions and in a partnership, if they perceive low family support and wish additional counselling with a physician. CONCLUSION A cancer support group seems to "buffer" family support perceived to be insufficient. However, support group users are living more frequently in a partnership and in good economic conditions compared to non-users. Physicians and speech therapists are important mediators to cancer support groups. They particularly should inform laryngectomees who are living in bad economic conditions and who are not living in a partnership about the availability of cancer support groups.