Initial Development of a Care System for Cancer Survivors Based on an Investigation into Their Actual Lifestyle Conditions

Monday, 22 July 2013

Sachiko Tamura, RN, PhD
Department of Nursing, School of Nursing, Kanazawa Medical University, Ishikawa, Japan
Keiko Shintani, RN, PhD
Department of Nursing,Faculty of Health Sciences, Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Niigata, Japan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the lifestyle conditions of the cancer survivors

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to study how to develop a care system for cancer survivors

Purpose: To consider the care to support cancer survivors based on a lifestyle survey.

Methods: We conducted a lifestyle survey for mature cancer survivors who were undergoing chemotherapy. In the physical aspects, we investigated the physical suffering and basic lifestyle activities. In the mental aspects, we measured Worry or Depression using questionnaire“HADS”. In the social aspect, we asked about employment, and measured QOL using questionnaire “QOL-ACD”.

Results: We obtained responses from 830 people. In regard to pain, 20-30% of them complained of headaches, internal organ pain, skin or muscle pain, and bone or joint pain. And other symptoms were felt by 70-90%, suffering from physical weakness, loss of appetite, an overall feeling of weariness, edemas and abdominal dropsy, difficulty in breathing, constipation, nausea and vomiting. And 90-100% of people were independent in basic lifestyle activities. Those suffering from worry or depression included 13% with Worry, and 18% with Depression. In terms of employment, 40% were working normally, 10% working part-time, and 45% not working. In terms of their QOL, 90% had high activity and physical levels, 80% has high mental levels, and 30% had high social levels.

Conclusion: To support cancer survivors, it is important to control alleviation of both pain and other symptoms. And there is a need to provide support that will allow cancer survivors to deal themselves with the underlying worry and stress. This support will improve physical suffering as well as the mental and emotional state, which will lead to improved employment, and finally to an improvement in the QOL.