We investigated which problems patients experience after resection for oesophageal cancer and what care they expect, in order to devise a better-tailored follow-up policy. Thirty patients, all within 1 year after surgery, filled in a one-time questionnaire on experienced physical, psychological and social problems and on expected care for these problems. Additionally, a semi-structured interview was performed. Frequencies of experienced problems and expected care over time were analysed. The majority of patients experienced physical problems such as 'early satiety' (97%) and 'fatigue' (84%) after oesophagectomy. In addition, patients often felt depressed (64%), were afraid of metastases (80%) and death (47%). Over time, the frequency of problems such as 'fatigue' (P = 0.035) and 'being dependent' (P = 0.012) decreased. Patients particularly expected professional care for physical issues related to their disease, whereas they often managed psychosocial problems in their own social network. Patients indicated that nurses' involvement during follow-up might improve their possibility to satisfactorily deal with problems. Patients frequently experience physical problems after oesophagectomy, and professional care is expected for these issues. Psychosocial problems are also present, but care is less commonly expected. Nurses' involvement during follow-up could be a way to optimize patients' management after oesophageal cancer surgery.
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