A new study has discovered that after treatment for cancer, survivors often complain about a loss of personal control.

According to researchers, it is difficult to do an analysis of open-ended questions especially when there are thousands of responses.

Although the responses can’t be generalized to all cancer survivors, people that participated in the study generally mentioned a physical problem or a wish to return to “normal.”

According to sociologists, cancer survivors are usually caught off guard about the lingering problems once treatment is complete.

The study found that in earlier studies, between 1/5 and 1/3 of cancer survivors ended up with physical or mental health concerns at least 5 years after treatment.

Researchers in earlier studies used data from a 2010 American Cancer Society survey that asked more than 9,000 participants an open ended question about their health after cancer treatments. The results were limited to a list of ailments presented by researchers for the participants to pick from.

The new report analyzed 1,514 responses to the open-ended question.

The respondents ranged in age from 24 to 97. 67% were female, 47% were breast cancer survivors and 21% were prostate cancer survivors.

More than 1/3 reported a physical problem after their cancer treatments. The physical problems included anything from pain to problems with sexual health.

Around 1/5 of the participants reported financial or insurance problems. 1/5 of the respondents also complained about education and information made available after their cancer treatments. Some of those persons still had unanswered questions about their care, for example, what to expect and what to do after treatment.

16% mentioned issues regarding self-autonomy. Issues with self-autonomy included any problems that stood in a person’s ability of being physically and socially independent. The problems had a broad range from a person having poor bladder of bowel control following treatment to a person having trouble making plans or socializing.

More research still needs to be done. The next step is to see whether preparing patients for the lingering effects of cancer and its treatment may help people feel less burdened by these unmet needs.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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