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“Just Living With Them”: Symptom Management Experiences of Rural Residents With Advanced Cancer

Stephanie Gilbertson-White
Chi Yeung
Karen E. Wickersham
ONF 2019, 46(5), 531-542 DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.531-542

Purpose: To understand how rural residents with advanced cancer experience and manage their symptoms.

Participants & Setting: 16 adult patients with a diagnosis of advanced cancer, who were receiving antineoplastic treatment and living in rural areas of southeastern Iowa, participated in the study.

Methodologic Approach: Data were collected through semistructured, audio-recorded interviews using open-ended questions. Data were analyzed using content and dimensional analyses.

Findings: Four themes were developed from the completed interviews, including (a) barriers and challenges associated with rural cancer care, (b) physical symptoms experienced from the time of diagnosis through the cancer trajectory, (c) symptom management strategies used to control physical symptoms, and (d) perceptions of having cancer and the use of technology in managing symptoms.

Implications for Nursing: Rural residents with advanced cancer experience a wide range of physical symptoms that may affect their quality of life. Although residents may develop self-management strategies to cope with symptoms, additional guidance on and interventions for how best to manage physical symptoms are needed.

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