What accessible interventions are available to support cancer survivors to improve their quality of life?
Session type: Poster / e-Poster / Silent Theatre session
Due to the rise in cancer patient populations in recent years, and the increase in long term survival, ensuring this patient group are able to live independently, with a good quality of life, has become increasingly important (ICR, 2015). The study aimed to identify the issues that have the greatest impact on quality of life for patients living with and beyond cancer, including how current policy and practice addresses quality of life issues, identifying gaps in services for supporting survivors.
A literature review was undertaken, including both quantitative and qualitative data in a mixed methods approach. A qualitative approach was chosen to review the papers, extracting sub-themes and themes from a mixture of measurements and description to draw conclusions from the data.
Themes identified related to accessibility, and availability of interventions, which may help to improve quality of life. This underlined importance of assessment to determine individual needs and the importance of quality delivery of interventions to achieve maximum benefit to survivors, through recognition of the needs of diverse population groups as well as specific vulnerabilities due to co-morbidity and those related to the wider determinants of health.
Addressing the quality of life of cancer survivors is a complex and time-consuming process, which requires input from multiple agencies, and government funding to achieve improvements in supportive care. This focus upon quality should be considered a vital part of the patient pathway, and receive the same level of attention as medical treatment that can save and prolong lives.
Increasing prominence to improve services to support those living well with cancer needs urgent attention by both policymakers and clinical service providers. A clear focus needs to be established targeting the individual’s preference and/or need, with the provision of services that can be delivered in person or remotely as appropriate, removing access difficulties.