The psychosocial, existential and spiritual needs of people with cancer
A literature review examines needs assessment for people with cancer and identified needs in the domains of medical care, psycho-social support, information, distress amelioration, psychological support, existential and spiritual well-being. The review also considers the emerging literature concerned with the benefits some people describe as resulting from their experience of cancer. The literature reviewed, suggests that non-medical aspects of a person's well-being have a significant role in the person's adjustment to cancer and treatment. The small amount of research in the domains of existential and spiritual well-being suggests the need for these aspects of a person's functioning to be included in any holistic assessment of need. Further, the need for furihdr research of the links between existential and spiritual well-being and adjustment to cancer is highlighted as an important first step in understanding the needs of people with cancer in a holistic way. The Empirical study was conducted as part of the larger `CancerCAN' study (see Zinovieff, Morrison, Coles and Cartmel, 2005) that has developed a tool for the assessment of cancer patients' needs'. The present study employed focus groups to explore the existential and spiritual needs of 9 people with cancer. A content analysis identified a wide range of psychosocial needs. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) idehtified a master theme labelled as `positive coping as a priority in dealing with adversity'. Existential and spiritual sub-themes were identified and labelled as 1: the possession of faith; 2: meaning and purpose from cancer; 3: changes in perspective as a result of experiencing cancer; 4: anxieties about the future, and; 5: issues of control. It is concluded that Existential and spiritual aspects of the person are personally significant for people with cancer and require inclusion in holistic assessment of cancer patients' needs'. Theoretical and clinical implications are considered in a final chapter.