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Benefits and challenges of cancer peer support groups: A systematic review of qualitative studies

Benefits and challenges of cancer peer support groups: A systematic review of qualitative studies INTRODUCTIONWorldwide, about 18 million people are newly diagnosed with cancer annually (Ferlay et al., 2019). The confrontation with this life‐threatening disease is associated with a high level of psychosocial distress (Carlson et al., 2019). After the diagnosis treatment, short‐term decisions must be made. Oncological treatment is accompanied by various short‐ or long‐term side effects (Schirrmacher, 2019). Fear of recurrence or progression and depression are the most common issues of cancer survivors (Götze et al., 2019). Various types of psychosocial care are available to help patients cope with the sequelae of the illness. As an example, sharing experiences in cancer self‐help groups (CSHG) can promote realistic expectations about the medical treatment, and consequences of the disease thus may be interpreted in terms of problem‐oriented coping as well as social downward comparison (Taylor et al., 1990). Expecting that another person is worse off may help oneself to feel better. Cancer patients utilise various forms of peer support like face‐to‐face or online groups or one‐to‐one consultation. In this context, peer support can be understood as social relationships created and initiated by affected persons to offer mutual support (Dennis, 2003). In Dunn's approach, peer led CSHGs are defined as ‘peer‐supervised’ and in ‘face‐to‐face settings’ without any professional supervision (Dunn http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Journal of Cancer Care Wiley

Benefits and challenges of cancer peer support groups: A systematic review of qualitative studies

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0961-5423
eISSN
1365-2354
DOI
10.1111/ecc.13700
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

INTRODUCTIONWorldwide, about 18 million people are newly diagnosed with cancer annually (Ferlay et al., 2019). The confrontation with this life‐threatening disease is associated with a high level of psychosocial distress (Carlson et al., 2019). After the diagnosis treatment, short‐term decisions must be made. Oncological treatment is accompanied by various short‐ or long‐term side effects (Schirrmacher, 2019). Fear of recurrence or progression and depression are the most common issues of cancer survivors (Götze et al., 2019). Various types of psychosocial care are available to help patients cope with the sequelae of the illness. As an example, sharing experiences in cancer self‐help groups (CSHG) can promote realistic expectations about the medical treatment, and consequences of the disease thus may be interpreted in terms of problem‐oriented coping as well as social downward comparison (Taylor et al., 1990). Expecting that another person is worse off may help oneself to feel better. Cancer patients utilise various forms of peer support like face‐to‐face or online groups or one‐to‐one consultation. In this context, peer support can be understood as social relationships created and initiated by affected persons to offer mutual support (Dennis, 2003). In Dunn's approach, peer led CSHGs are defined as ‘peer‐supervised’ and in ‘face‐to‐face settings’ without any professional supervision (Dunn

Journal

European Journal of Cancer CareWiley

Published: Nov 1, 2022

Keywords: cancer; peer support; psychosocial support; qualitative methods; review; self‐help group

References