Special Issue "Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Patients and Caregivers"

A special issue of Current Oncology (ISSN 1718-7729). This special issue belongs to the section "Palliative and Supportive Care".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jackie Bender
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2. Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Interests: cancer survivorship; digital health; implementation science; peer navigation; online support groups and social media; virtual care; patient-oriented research; intervention research; mixed-methodology
Dr. Sylvie Lambert
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2. St. Mary's Research Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Interests: Longitudinal assessment of the impact of cancer on patients and their family caregivers; Intervention studies to improve outcomes in patients with cancer and their family caregivers, with a focus on self-administered interventions; Psychometric analysis using Rasch analysis; Mixed research methodology (quantitative and qualitative)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A diagnosis of cancer and its treatment can result in a wide range of short and long-term side effects and accompanying distress, which can impair patients’ quality of life. For many, these supportive care issues are neglected or not adequately addressed by the formal healthcare system, resulting in a high burden of unmet needs. Family members or spouse caregivers are critical in maintaining and improving the quality of life of patients with cancer and in helping to address their unmet needs. However, family caregivers require support as well, and as they often fulfill their role without formal assistance, they experience considerable unmet supportive care needs themselves. The accurate assessment of perceived needs is critical in order to tailor health services and supportive care interventions to each patient and family caregiver’s circumstances, psychosocial profile and supportive care needs.

Several individual studies and systematic reviews have reported on the supportive care needs of cancer patients and their family members using a variety of assessment tools and qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Collectively, this research has enhanced our understanding of the diverse needs of cancer patients and their family caregivers and led to the development of numerous supportive care interventions. However, gaps in the literature remain. For this Special Issue of Current Oncology, submissions that advance the literature on the supportive care needs of cancer patients and family caregivers are sought. Although all manuscripts on the supportive care needs of cancer patients or family caregivers will be considered, priority will be given to manuscripts focusing on: innovations in the assessment, analysis and management of supportive care needs; the translation of unmet needs research to clinical applications (e.g., use of unmet needs as a PRO); longitudinal analyses investigating changes in unmet needs over time; dyadic studies on the interaction between patients’ and caregivers’ unmet needs; and experimental designs that assess the impact of supportive care needs interventions. In addition, we encourage submissions that investigate the unique needs and priorities of under-researched groups, including patients with less prevalent cancers, First Nations, Inuit, Metis and urban Indigenous, racialized, new immigrant and 2SLGBTQIA+.

Dr. Jackie Bender
Dr. Sylvie Lambert
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Current Oncology is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • supportive care needs
  • patient
  • family
  • quantitative research
  • qualitative research
  • intervention research
  • mixed-methods
  • psychometric analysis

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Stakeholder-Identified Interventions to Address Cancer Survivors’ Psychosocial Needs after Completing Treatment
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(6), 4961-4971; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28060416 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 229
Abstract
The interventions used in cancer-survivorship care do not always address outcomes important to survivors. This study sought to understand stakeholders’ views on the key concerns of cancer survivors after treatment and the interventions needed to meet survivors’ and families’ psychosocial needs after completing [...] Read more.
The interventions used in cancer-survivorship care do not always address outcomes important to survivors. This study sought to understand stakeholders’ views on the key concerns of cancer survivors after treatment and the interventions needed to meet survivors’ and families’ psychosocial needs after completing cancer treatment. We conducted a descriptive qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with stakeholders (survivors, family/friend caregivers, oncology providers, primary care providers, and cancer system decision-/policy-makers) from across Canada. For the data analysis, we used techniques commonly employed in descriptive qualitative research, such as coding, grouping, detailing, and comparing the data. There were 44 study participants: 11 survivors, seven family/friend caregivers, 18 health care providers, and eight decision-/policy-makers. Stakeholder-relevant interventions to address survivors’ psychosocial needs were categorized into five groups, as follows: information provision, peer support, navigation, knowledge translation interventions, and caregiver-specific supports. These findings, particularly interventions that deliver timely and relevant information about the post-treatment period and knowledge translation interventions that strive to integrate effective tools and programs into survivorship care, have implications for future research and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Patients and Caregivers)
Article
Parents’ Experiences with Home-Based Oral Chemotherapy Prescribed to a Child Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Qualitative Study
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(6), 4377-4391; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28060372 - 01 Nov 2021
Viewed by 464
Abstract
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children. Treatment includes home-based oral chemotherapies (OCs) (e.g., 6-mercaptopurine and dexamethasone) taken for 2 to 3 years. The management of OC can be challenging for children and their parents. However, the [...] Read more.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children. Treatment includes home-based oral chemotherapies (OCs) (e.g., 6-mercaptopurine and dexamethasone) taken for 2 to 3 years. The management of OC can be challenging for children and their parents. However, the multifaceted experience of families with children taking OC for ALL is largely undescribed. We report the experience with these OCs from the parents’ perspective. We conducted a qualitative descriptive study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the parents of children with ALL aged < 15 years, followed in a specialized university-affiliated center. The interviews were fully transcribed and thematically analyzed. Thirteen of the seventeen eligible parents (76.5%) participated in the study. The parents’ motivation to follow the recommendations provided by the multidisciplinary care team regarding OC was very high. The quantity and the quality of the information received were judged adequate, and the parents reported feeling knowledgeable enough to take charge of the OC at home. Adapting to the consequences of OC on family daily life was collectively identified as the biggest challenge. This includes developing and maintaining a strict daily routine, adapting to the child’s neurobehavioral changes during dexamethasone days and adapting family social life. Our findings have several implications for enhancing the support offered to families with home-based OC for ALL. Supportive interventions should consider the family as a whole and their needs should be regularly monitored. Specific attention should be paid to the development and maintenance of a routine, to the parental burden, and to the emotional impact, especially regarding dexamethasone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Patients and Caregivers)
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Article
At the Heart of It All: Emotions of Consequence for the Conceptualization of Caregiver-Reported Outcomes in the Context of Colorectal Cancer
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(5), 4184-4202; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28050355 - 16 Oct 2021
Viewed by 542
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) can be demanding for primary caregivers; yet, there is insufficient evidence describing the caregiver-reported outcomes (CROs) that matter most to caregivers. CROs refer to caregivers’ assessments of their own health status as a result of supporting a patient. The study [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) can be demanding for primary caregivers; yet, there is insufficient evidence describing the caregiver-reported outcomes (CROs) that matter most to caregivers. CROs refer to caregivers’ assessments of their own health status as a result of supporting a patient. The study purpose was to describe the emotions that were most impactful to caregivers of patients with CRC, and how the importance caregivers attribute to these emotions changed from diagnosis throughout treatment. Guided by qualitative Interpretive Description, we analyzed 25 caregiver and 37 CRC patient interviews, either as individuals or as caregiver-patient dyads (six interviews), using inductive coding and constant comparative techniques. We found that the emotional aspect of caring for a patient with CRC was at the heart of caregiving. Caregiver experiences that engendered emotions of consequence included: (1) facing the patient’s life-changing diagnosis and an uncertain future, (2) needing to be with the patient throughout the never-ending nightmare of treatment, (3) bearing witness to patient suffering, (4) being worn down by unrelenting caregiver responsibilities, (5) navigating their relationship, and (6) enduring unwanted change. The broad range of emotions important to caregivers contributes to comprehensive foundational evidence for future conceptualization and the use of CROs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Patients and Caregivers)
Article
The Supportive Care Needs of Regional and Remote Cancer Caregivers
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(4), 3041-3057; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28040266 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 941
Abstract
Objective: As cancer survival rates continue to increase, so will the demand for care from family and friends, particularly in more isolated settings. This study aims to examine the needs of cancer caregivers in regional and remote Australia. Methods: A total of 239 [...] Read more.
Objective: As cancer survival rates continue to increase, so will the demand for care from family and friends, particularly in more isolated settings. This study aims to examine the needs of cancer caregivers in regional and remote Australia. Methods: A total of 239 informal (i.e., non-professional) cancer caregivers (e.g., family/friends) from regional and remote Queensland, Australia, completed the Comprehensive Needs Assessment Tool for Cancer Caregivers (CNAT-C). The frequencies of individuals reporting specific needs were calculated. Logistic regression analyses assessed the association between unmet needs and demographic characteristics and cancer type. Results: The most frequently endorsed needs were lodging near hospital (77%), information about the disease (74%), and tests and treatment (74%). The most frequent unmet needs were treatment near home (37%), help with economic burden (32%), and concerns about the person being cared for (32%). Younger and female caregivers were significantly more likely to report unmet needs overall (OR = 2.12; OR = 0.58), and unmet healthcare staff needs (OR = 0.35; OR = 1.99, respectively). Unmet family and social support needs were also significantly more likely among younger caregivers (OR = 0.35). Caregivers of breast cancer patients (OR = 0.43) and older caregivers (OR = 0.53) were significantly less likely to report unmet health and psychology needs. Proportions of participants reporting needs were largely similar across demographic groups and cancer type with some exceptions. Conclusions: Caregiver health, practical issues associated with travel, and emotional strain are all areas where regional and remote caregivers require more support. Caregivers’ age and gender, time since diagnosis and patient cancer type should be considered when determining the most appropriate supportive care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Patients and Caregivers)
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Article
An Investigation of the Effect of Attachment on Distress among Partners of Patients with Ovarian Cancer and Their Relationship with the Cancer Care Providers
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(4), 2950-2960; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28040258 - 04 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Caregivers of patients with ovarian cancer experience distress related to caregiving difficulties within cancer care. Attachment insecurity is a well-known protector of distress, particularly as it relates to support from others. Using multivariate analyses, this study sought to determine the contribution of attachment [...] Read more.
Caregivers of patients with ovarian cancer experience distress related to caregiving difficulties within cancer care. Attachment insecurity is a well-known protector of distress, particularly as it relates to support from others. Using multivariate analyses, this study sought to determine the contribution of attachment insecurity and experiences with cancer care on symptoms of depression and anxiety, and investigated whether attachment insecurity moderated the relationship between caregiving experiences and distress. Multiple hierarchical regression analyses were conducted as part of a larger cross-sectional questionnaire study of distress among partners of patients with ovarian cancer. Participants (n = 82) were predominantly male, white, had household incomes over $100,000 and postsecondary education. Caregiving experiences explained 56% of the variance in depression, and 28% of the variance in anxiety. Specifically, lack of time for social relations as a result of caregiving significantly predicted depression and anxiety. Attachment anxiety correlated with both depression and anxiety, but attachment avoidance did not. Neither attachment anxiety nor attachment avoidance significantly contributed to distress variance, and neither moderated any of the relationships between caregiving experiences and distress outcomes. This study highlights the importance for cancer care to recognize the effect of caregiving responsibilities upon caregivers’ mental health, regardless of vulnerability to distress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Patients and Caregivers)
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