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Cancer Patients' Opinions Concerning Post-Treatment Follow-up

Issue: Vol.8, No.4 - October 2009

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Article Type: Manuscript

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  1. Dr Solveig S?grov
    Assistant Professor, Cand. polit, Sogn og Fjordane University College,
  2. Margarethe Lorensen

Cancer is one of the most serious and wide-spread diseases known. Statistics show that of about 4 million Norwegians, every third person will be afflicted by some form of cancer during his lifetime. Around 20 000 Norwegians receive this diagnosis yearly. People who have cancer often indicate that they feel neglected after they have received the diagnosis and perhaps hospital treatment.

This article describes a survey in which a questionnaire was employed to map the services and post-treatment care offered by county health services to cancer patients. The form was sent to 199 persons between the age of 18 and 70, all of whom had been diagnosed with cancer from 6 months to 3 years earlier. The questionnaire was addressed directly to the patients, and distributed by mail. Both the regional medical ethics committee and the Information Protection Agency gave their approval with respect to how the patients and control group were selected, and to the general procedures used in the project. Eighty six questionnaires were filled out and returned, giving a response-rate of 43%. Of those who returned the form, 44 were women and 42 were men. Their average age was 57 years. The majority of those who responded to the questionnaire had been diagnosed for cancer at least 2 years earlier. Of the responding patients, 49 persons said that they had been declared cured, 25 answered that they were still ill, and 12 did not reply to this question. The survey results indicate that few services or training programs had been offered to the patients after their treatment was completed. This conclusion is corroborated by a questionnaire filled out by doctors and administrative leaders in the home-nursing program as part of the same project. The cancer patients had not been clearly informed whether they should contact the hospital or the health services in their home county if they needed assistance. The patients also expressed a desire for better information and a more systematic post-treatment program, as well as clear guidelines delineating the specific areas of responsibility assigned to hospitals and the local public health services.

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