• Not as simple as "fear of the unknown": A qualitative study exploring anxiety in the radiotherapy department

Gimson, Eliza, Dottori, Maria Greca, Clunie, Gemma, Zheng, Caroline Yan ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5277-3863, Wiseman, Theresa, Joyce, Elizabeth, McGregor, Alison and McNair, Helen, 2022, Journal Article, Not as simple as "fear of the unknown": A qualitative study exploring anxiety in the radiotherapy department European Journal of Cancer Care, 31 (2). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1365-2354

Abstract or Description:

Little is understood about the anxiety experienced by cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy or investigative imaging. Our aim was to identify sources of anxiety, the points along the cancer journey where anxiety occurred and methods to alleviate it.

Six focus groups were conducted with cancer patients (n = 17), caregivers (n = 3) and healthcare practitioners (HCPs; n = 10) in the radiotherapy department. Patients described specific elements in the care pathway which induced anxiety, while HCPs focused on their perception of the patient experience. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data.

Three broad themes emerged: The Environment, The Individual and The Unknown. The physical environment of the hospital, inside the scanner for example, emerged as a key source of anxiety. The impact of cancer on patients' individual lives was significant, with many feeling isolated. The majority of participants described anxiety associated with the unknown. HCPs reported difficulty in identifying the anxious patient.

Anxiety is experienced throughout the cancer pathway. Common sources include the physical environment and the uncertainty associated with having cancer. Identifying both anxiety-inducing factors, and the anxious patients themselves, is crucial to enable targeted interventions to alleviate anxiety.

Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecc.13...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecc.13564
Uncontrolled Keywords: anxiety; cancer; healthcare; qualitative; radiotherapy; unknown
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2022 14:50
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2022 11:42
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5000
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