A Thematic Analysis on an Exploration of Concerns of Cancer Patients and their Caregivers in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:: Psychosocial issues, Health care challenges during pandemic, Cancer, and Corona, Psychosocial intervention
Background: COVID-19, a pandemic prevalent for a long time presents a multistep crisis;the first stage is an
acute health crisis, followed by a healthcare recovery crisis in the second stage and a socio-economic crisis in an
indefinite period. The study explores the challenges and specific concerns among patients diagnosed with cancer
and their caregivers during the pandemic.
Materials and Method: Qualitative research employs specific research methods such as in-depth interviews,
content analysis, observation methods, and life histories or biographies to examine people’s experiences in detail.
In the present study, a semi-structured questionnaire was developed and interviews were conductedto understand
the experiences of cancer patients andtheir caregivers with health care and their daily challenges during the
pandemic. A Non-random sampling method, involving males and females, within the age group of 18 to 65 years,
and their primary care providers from the Regional Cancer Centre and other cancer hospitals are followed. Semistructured interview responses were collected from cancer patients and their caregivers., illustrative quotes were
summarised and key themes from the interviews were extracted.
Results and analysis: 9 Key themes with 20 subthemes were extracted in the content analysis. Difficulty having
access to medical care, fear of infection transmission, lack of social support, loss of income source, drastic lifestyle
changes, uncertainty about disease cure, and apprehension about the future,which result in cumulative disease
burdenhave been frequently reported in the study.
Conclusion: The current research is relevant in describing the experiences and perspectives of cancer patients and
their caregivers, throwing light on the psychosocial issues and challenges during the pandemic situation, thus
emphasizing the need for developing a supportive psychosocial intervention.
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