New thesis on the perspective of being a family caregiver of a patient treated for oesophageal cancer
Cecilia Haddad Ringborg at the research group Surgical Care Science, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, will defend her thesis "The perspective of being a family caregiver of a patient treated for oesophageal cancer : problems and needs" on April 1, 2022. Main Supervisor is Pernilla Lagergren.
What's the main focus of your thesis?
This thesis aimed to evaluate perspectives of being a family caregiver of a patient treated for oesophageal cancer. Family caregivers of patients with oesophageal cancer have been neglected in previous research. However, it is well known that family caregivers are affected by the patient’s cancer diagnosis. The curative intended treatment for oesophageal cancer is extensive and often entails several side-effects. Patients live with a reduced health-related quality of life (HRQL) for many years after the treatment due to the side-effects. To be able to improve the survivorship of patients, we need to consider the family caregivers’ perspective. For the studies within the thesis, information about the experiences among family caregivers was collected in questionnaires and interviews. In addition, factors that might impact family caregivers’ HRQL were investigated.
Which are the most important results?
The results indicate that family caregivers experience psychosocial consequences because of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment, also two years after treatment. The family caregivers felt that they were fully responsible for the patients’ care at home after hospital discharge. An important aspect of the consequences was the family caregivers’ HRQL that was found to be negatively affected, especially if the patients had been struggling with post-operative complications. Family caregivers with a higher education level seemed to have less impacted HRQL compared to those with a lower education level. Furthermore, patients’ HRQL was also associated with the family caregivers HRQL regarding emotional role function.
How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?
The thesis indicates that family caregivers need to be more involved in the discussion and dialog regarding the patient’s diagnosis, treatment and care. If the family caregivers can be provided with the tools they need when caring for the patient, the situation for patients and family caregivers have the possibility to be improved. Therefore, the results of the thesis can be used for developing interventions for family caregivers with the aim to enhance the situation for patients treated for oesophageal cancer and their family caregivers.
What are your future ambitions?
My main ambition is always to continue to grow and to gain knowledge. Due to my interest in oncology and cancer survivorship, I will continue focusing on research aiming at improvement for patients with consequences of a cancer diagnosis and treatment and also include family caregivers. Today, increasing number of patients are survivors, and more knowledge about late side-effects and HRQL is needed. I hope to be able to continue to contribute to research and also work closer to the clinical setting to be able to implement new evidence.