Lymphoma survivors' experiences at the end of treatment
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Hackett, Fidelma, & Dowling, Maura. (2018). Lymphoma survivors’ experiences at the end of treatment. Journal of Clinical Nursing, doi:10.1111/jocn.14658
Aims and Objectives To explore lymphoma survivors’ experiences on their end of treatment and follow‐up care at a large urban haematology centre in Ireland. Methods This was a qualitative study using semistructured interviews with lymphoma patients post‐treatment (n = 14). Thematic analysis guided the analysis of interview data. The study adhered to the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ) guidelines. Findings Five main themes were identified following analysis of the interview data: dealing with uncertainty, changed relationships, returning to work, extended recovery time and concerns for the future. Findings of note were that some participants were unaware that their treatment had ended, many experienced recurrent infections which prolonged recovery time, and many had no recall of discussions on healthy lifestyle behaviours or recommended screening programmes at their follow‐up visits. Conclusions The findings suggest that the period of transition from active treatment to survivorship can be challenging for lymphoma survivors, and they experience ongoing needs. While the challenges of survivorship in lymphoma mirror those of other cancers, this cohort of patients require focused preparation for the end of active treatment and the transition to follow‐up care. Moreover, this patient group requires repeated specific education on late effects and second cancers, education with regards to identifying the signs of cancer recurrence and promotion of healthy lifestyle practices. Relevance to clinical practice This study highlights the importance of a dedicated end of treatment visit with the clinical nurse specialist to confirm the completion of active treatment with lymphoma patients and focus on health promotion.