• Shaline Thedchanamoorthy
  • Anne Eskesen Würtz
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
As the number of cancer survivors increases due to long-term treatment options, there is a growing need to increase awareness and knowledge of the late effects of treatments. It is important to question the quality of life of cancer survivors with late effects and how they cope with the difficulties that result from treatment. Considerable research on the subject matter has shown that late effects have a negative impact on cancer survivors’ social, physical and mental health, subsequently impacting their overall well-being and life circumstances. However, research also shows inconsistencies in results, which further emphasize the need for more in-depth inquiry on this subject. In collaboration with the Danish Late Effects Group and The Danish Cancer Society, this master thesis aims to investigate the quality of life and coping strategies used by Danish cancer survivors with late effects.
As the first of its kind in this field, this study seeks to capture the issue by utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods to develop typologies. Previous studies on the topic have used either quantitative or qualitative methods. This study considers a mixed method study as advantageous as it is more able to meet the research criteria. While the quantitative analysis contributes with typologies to cover the quality of life of cancer survivors suffering from late effects, the aim of the qualitative analysis is to study the quality of life in depth while also examining how cancer survivors manage to live their lives with late effects. The data used in the quantitative part of this master thesis is a barometer survey deposited by The Danish Cancer Society, covering the needs and experiences of treatment and course among cancer patients. The quantitative methods utilized are cluster analysis, and multiple linear regression analysis. These methods allow the development of clusters, description of the differences between clusters, and the ability to statistically control the effects of third variables. The qualitative methods used in the second part of this thesis include narratives and semi-structured interviews.
In order to analyze the empirical findings in the quantitative and qualitative parts of the study, dominant theoretical perspectives have been incorporated to examine quality of life and coping strategies, as well as theories concerning happiness, turning points and narratives. Finally, the empirical analysis concludes with revised typologies regarding the quality of life and coping strategies among cancer survivors with late effects.
While the quantitative analysis suggests two typologies, the qualitative analysis proposes a third typology. As a result, this study describes three groups of cancer survivors with late effects; Low quality of life, Medium quality of life and High quality of life. Cancer survivors with high quality of life are successful in their different approaches to cope with late effects. They have a substantial resource base and a strong sense of coherence. Cancer survivors with medium quality of life have a lower sense of coherence and limited resources. They also use different coping strategies, some of which are successful while others are not. Cancer survivors with a low quality of life have a low sense of coherence and limited resources. Their coping strategies often do not succeed, resulting in feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
This thesis outlines the importance of a social life and a supportive partner to the overall quality of life among cancer survivors with late effects. Additional factors that impact the quality of life include physical activity and individually focused rehabilitation. A noted common occurrence among cancer survivors is the lack of assistance and guidance provided to these individuals regarding their late effects. This is considered as a problem since cancer survivors with low and medium quality of life have limited resources to manage their late effects. Thus it is essential to acknowledge late effects and offer cancer survivors the necessary help. 
Publication date6 Aug 2015
Number of pages151
External collaboratorForeningen for Kræftramte med Senfølger
Dorthe Kann Hostrup dorthehostrup@godmail.dk
ID: 216971837