Experiences of Family Caregivers of Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy


Background: Cancer is a disease which affects not only patients but also their families physically and emotionally. The purpose of this study was to determine the needs, challenges and ways of coping of caregivers of cancer patients. Materials and
Methods: In the study, a phenomenological approach was used. Data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews. The study sample comprised 16 family members providing care for a cancer patient.
Results: The study findings are grouped under four main themes: the impact of caregiving, masking feelings, experienced challenges and expectations, and coping. During the caregiving process, patient relatives are affected physiologically, psychologically and socially. It was determined that patient relatives hid their feelings and avoided talking about the disease for fear that they might upset the patient, and that they had difficulty in coping with the patient’s reactions during the treatment process. Family members had difficulties arising from the health system, hospital conditions and treatment in addition to ransportation and financial problems. Support is very important in coping, but it was determined that some of the relatives of patients did not receive adequate support. Patient relatives expect that health care professionals should provide them with more information about their patient’s condition and the course of the disease that their patients should be dealt with by the physicians specialized in cancer, and that psychological support should be provided both for them and for their patient.
Conclusions: During the caregiving process, family members are faced with many difficulties and they exhibit different coping behaviors which health care professionals should take into account.