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Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative
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David Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, and Ilora Finlay

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.001.0001

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Dealing with cancer recurrence

Dealing with cancer recurrence

Chapter:
(p.191) Chapter 17 Dealing with cancer recurrence
Source:
Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
Author(s):

Lidia Schapira

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.003.0017

Cancer survivors often describe the period following their initial diagnosis as a time of heightened awareness and worry. Many describe being unable to enjoy the present for fear of recurrent disease, a condition termed the Damocles syndrome. Personal choices and coping styles determine a person's adaptation to his or her illness, and shape their transition to dealing with recurrence. Cancer clinicians know that there is no set formula for coping; individual resources and coping strengths, collectively referred to as resiliency, vary considerably among individuals. This chapter reviews the central themes and frequent scenarios that physicians, nurses, and therapists need to consider in working with patients with recurrent cancer. Before considering the strategies and skills necessary to signal a change in prognosis and support cancer patients and their families, it first takes a critical look at the role that language plays in mediating communication. It also examines the special features of communication about a cancer recurrence as well as the skills and strategies necessary to provide therapeutic and supportive interventions.

Keywords:   cancer survivors, cancer recurrence, Damocles syndrome, coping, resiliency, physicians, cancer patients, communication, interventions, prognosis

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