Feelings of Disenfranchisement and Support Needs Among Patients With Thyroid Cancer

Melissa Henry, PhD, UQAM, MPs, BSc; Yu Xin Chang, McG.; Saul Frenkiel, BSc, MD, CM(McG.), FRCSC; Gabrielle Chartier, RN, BScN, MScN, CON; Richard Payne, MD, CM(McG.), MSc, FRCSC; Christina MacDonald, RN, BScN, MScN, CON; Carmen Loiselle, BScN, MScN, PhD; Martin J. Black, MD, CM(McG.), FRCSC; Alex M. Mlynarek, MSc, MD, CM(McG.), FRCSC; Antoinette Ehrler, RN, BScN; Zeev Rosberger, PhD, MA; Michael Tamilia, MD; Michael P. Hier, MD
ONF
10.1188/18.ONF.639-652

Description

Purpose: To offer a better understanding of the experiences, preferences, and needs of patients with thyroid cancer.

Participants & Setting: 17 patients with thyroid cancer receiving treatment at a university-affiliated hospital in Montreal, Québec, Canada.

Methodologic Approach: Interviews were conducted with patients, and descriptive phenomenology was used to explore patients’ lived experience.

Findings: Coping with uncertainty was a major theme that emerged from interviews, with some of the main concerns being difficult treatment decisions, long surgery wait times, and fears about surgical complications, potential metastases, and death. Study participants reported that without a nurse and an interprofessional team, they would be lost in a system they believed minimized their illness and offered few resources to support them in a time of crisis.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses must understand how the needs of individuals with thyroid cancer are often overlooked because of the good prognosis associated with the disease and should work to meet these information and support needs.

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