Katarina Sjövall has studied partners of individuals with colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer or prostate cancer. The study shows that the number of diagnosed diseases among partners increased by 25 per cent after the cancer diagnosis.
“Having a close relative with cancer entails worry and anxiety and an increased workload that places a strain on one’s health”, she says.
The most significant increase was in diagnoses of mental illnesses such as depression. However, there was also a significant increase in cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal diseases and abdominal diseases. The highest increase was in cardiovascular disease among spouses and partners of those with lung cancer, which increased by almost 50 per cent.
The increase in diagnosed diseases led to increased use of the health service, primarily in-patient care. Among the partners who worked, the number of days of sick leave also increased. The worst affected were spouses and partners of lung cancer patients, who had over 70 per cent more days off sick than the general population in the year following their partner’s diagnosis.
While women in general are responsible for a larger proportion of healthcare costs than men in Sweden, the reverse was true in this case. Healthcare costs increased most for men under 64 who had a partner with cancer.
“One possible explanation could be that the men feel less comfortable taking on a caring role as the partner of a cancer patient and that they therefore suffer more stress”, says Katarina Sjövall.
In one of her studies, Ms Sjövall interviewed patients with colorectal cancer and their partners. The patients sometimes spoke of feeling that their physical and psychological experiences were not acknowledged by the health service. Neither did their partners always feel as involved as they would like to be.
“Our interviews showed that the cancer patients sometimes chose not to tell those closest to them what they were going through out of consideration for them. However, this considerate attitude could have the opposite effect”, says Katarina Sjövall.
When it comes to the health service, Ms Sjövall finds that care at the end of life is good at also helping the relatives and making them feel involved in what is happening. At earlier stages, however, there may be wide variations in approach and opportunities to offer support to relatives.
Another part of the study looks at the cancer patients’ sick leave in the year prior to the cancer diagnosis. Individuals with colon cancer and lung cancer had twice as many days off sick as the control group even in the year before their diagnosis.
“One reason could be that both forms of cancer have a lot to do with lifestyle. Therefore, individuals with colon cancer often also have diabetes, and individuals with lung cancer often have cardiovascular disease. The sick leave may have been due to these other diseases – but it could also have been due to early symptoms of the cancer. This makes one wish there were better ways to make a diagnosis based on very early cancer symptoms”, says Katarina Sjövall.
The title of the thesis is Living with cancer. Impact on cancer patient and partner and will be defended on 4 March.
Katarina Sjövall can be contacted on +46 46 17 75 12 or +46 768 67 49 79, email@example.com.
A downloadable image is available at http://www.lu.se/images/Nyhetsbilder/Katarina.Sjovall.JPG
Ingela Björck | idw
Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences