Self-management by older people living with cancer and multi-morbidity: a qualitative study

Teresa Corbett, Kellyn Lee, Amanda Cummings, Lynn Calman, Naomi Farrington, Lucy Anne Lewis, Alexandra Young, Alison Richardson, Claire Foster, Jackie Bridges

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    Purpose: Over half of individuals diagnosed with cancer are aged over 70 years, and more than 75% of those with cancer report at least one other medical condition. Having multiple conditions alongside cancer in old age may lower functional status, greater likelihood of treatment complications and less favourable prognoses. This qualitative study explored how older people with long-term chronic conditions manage their health and meet their health-related goals after they have completed treatment for cancer. Methods: One-to-one face-to-face qualitative interviews were conducted with 8 older people and 2 informal caregivers based in the UK. Older adults were eligible to participate if they were over 70 and had completed primary cancer treatment with curative intent and had at least one other chronic health condition. A semi-structured interview schedule developed a priori based on Shippee’s cumulative complexity model was used. We aimed to explore experiences that could influence self-management, utilisation of healthcare services and health outcomes. A framework analysis was used to describe and interpret the data. Results: Four overarching themes were identified in the analysis. These themes related to factors that influenced the everyday health-related workload and capacity of the participants. These factors included their health, resources, and opportunities, as well their motivation and sense of perceived control over their lives. Conclusions: Fragmented healthcare systems and relationships with healthcare professionals also influenced the participants’ self-management of their health. Our findings highlight the interaction between an individuals’ needs, capacity, treatment burden, and the services and resources available to them. These findings support calls to promote person-centred care to better support older adults to manage their health.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4823-4833
    Number of pages11
    JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022


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