Coping with stress in patients with advanced cancer


Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP, vol.11, pp.81-92, 2010 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Journal Name: Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.81-92
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The incidence and mortality of cancer are increasing day to day. Advanced cancer is cancer that has grown beyond the organ where it first started. Often it has spread widely throughout the body. In advanced cancer when cure is impossible, symptoms should be the focus of attention. Having advanced cancer can bring anxiety and uncertainty to life of patients. Most people who have survived cancer and completed their treatment will say that they live with the underlying fear that their cancer will return. Some people with advanced cancer are living longer and with better quality of life (QOL). Each person with advanced cancer has unique experience. Advanced cancer is not the same for everyone; it behaves differently depending on what patients' primary cancer diagnosis have been. Symptoms then get worse and treatments are needed to help them to control. These symptoms can often be treated. Likewise, each person faced with recurrent cancer will cope differently too. Assessing and understanding the impact of cancer on patients is, therefore, very important for providing the appropriate care and for improving patients' QOL. Understanding the reasons why some individuals become depressed and faced with some problems in advanced cancer has become an increasingly important area in palliative care. By interest in end of life care, clinicans, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and researchers alike have begun to focus their attention on identifying factors that might facilitate coping with advanced cancer. The goals of this study was to examine cancer related stressors and how patients coping with them. For understanding cancer related stressors and coping patterns of patients with advanced cancer current literature has been examined. In this study the specific symptoms and concerns which are faced by advanced cancer patients has been assigned shortly on a priori basis in to the dimensions of physicial symptomps, psychological symptoms, social concerns and, existential issues. Coping with this stressors some useful coping strategies (problem focused and emotional focused approach) are suggested in this study. Framework which is developed by this study can be useful for understanding cancer related stressors, some interventions to assist cancer patients to manage symptoms (pain, fatigue) and coping strategies for health care staff who worked with advanced cancer patients. Health care staff who are aware of the common stressors in advanced cancer, palliative care and end of life care may identify more readily the need for support and assistance with coping strategies, thus improving the overall QOL of their patients. Providing psychological and social support requires interdisciplinary collaboration guided by a perspective of QOL in palliative care.