Experiences of Brazilian children and family caregivers facing the recurrence of cancer

  • Arruda-Colli M
  • Perina E
  • Santos M
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Purpose: The aim of the study was to examine the different perspectives of the children and their family caregivers' experiences in the treatment of relapsed cancer. Methods: We conducted 16 sessions of the Drawing-and-Story Procedure (D-S) with 5 to 12-year-old children who were in treatment due to recurrence of cancer, and 8 in-depth interviews among their family caregivers. The D-S and the interviews were audio-recorded with the participants' consent; the transcripts were analyzed using the thematic content analysis. Results: The children evidenced that they perceived the threatening and uncertainty, independently of their age or kind of communication established about the disease and prognosis. Caregivers expressed feelings of frustration, threat and loss of control in view of the relapsed cancer diagnosis and prognosis, which enhanced the fear of losing their children and hampered the process of attributing meaning to their existence. Dyads showed similar experiences related to the recurrent cancer issues, and the first treatment experience seemed to help them to give new meanings to the current situation. Conclusion: Understanding the experiences of the children and their family caregivers can support the planning of psychological interventions that favor coping with the peculiarities of the disease situation resulting from the relapse diagnosis of childhood cancers.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Child psychology
  • Family
  • Neoplasm recurrence
  • Psychosocial impact

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  • M. N.F. Arruda-Colli

  • E. M. Perina

  • M. A. Santos

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