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Feelings of Disenfranchisement and Support Needs Among Patients With Thyroid Cancer

Melissa Henry
Yu Xin Chang
Saul Frenkiel
Gabrielle Chartier
Richard Payne
Christina MacDonald
Carmen Loiselle
Martin J. Black
Alex M. Mlynarek
Antoinette Ehrler
Zeev Rosberger
Michael Tamilia
Michael P. Hier
ONF 2018, 45(5), 639-652 DOI: 10.1188/18.ONF.639-652

Purpose: To offer a better understanding of the experiences, preferences, and needs of patients with thyroid cancer.

Participants & Setting: 17 patients with thyroid cancer receiving treatment at a university-affiliated hospital in Montreal, Québec, Canada.

Methodologic Approach: Interviews were conducted with patients, and descriptive phenomenology was used to explore patients’ lived experience.

Findings: Coping with uncertainty was a major theme that emerged from interviews, with some of the main concerns being difficult treatment decisions, long surgery wait times, and fears about surgical complications, potential metastases, and death. Study participants reported that without a nurse and an interprofessional team, they would be lost in a system they believed minimized their illness and offered few resources to support them in a time of crisis.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses must understand how the needs of individuals with thyroid cancer are often overlooked because of the good prognosis associated with the disease and should work to meet these information and support needs.

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