In Their Own Words, “Waiting Sucks:” A Qualitative Study of Medical Testing-Related Anxiety in Patients with Cancer

Samantha Mannion, Nichole A. Martin, Jennifer O’Connor, Jana Wieland, Aminah Jatoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This qualitative study sought to learn from patients with cancer -- in their own words -- about anxiety associated with medical testing. Methods: Patients with cancer or a history of cancer were recruited from an oncology clinic. After oral consent, each was interviewed in person. A semi-structured interview guide was used to help focus the interviews. Interviews were then recorded, transcribed, and analyzed with rigorous qualitative methods. Results: Twenty patients are the focus of this report, which highlights 2 main themes from the data. The first is that anxiety related to medical testing is a real entity. Although not all patients experienced it, those who did described it as such (“I was a little apprehensive.” “It’s the anticipation.” “I don’t think it bothers me until I get near the time for testing.”). The second theme focused on coping. Patients offered insight on how to cope (“So I just deal with it and work.” “And don’t let myself sink into a pity pot ….” “See your scan as a tool instead of … instead of um … a death sentence, I suppose.”) Conclusion: In patients with cancer, the anxiety from medical testing is real, could perhaps be mitigated by sharing coping methods from patient to patient, and merits further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • cancer
  • follow up
  • surveillance
  • test results
  • testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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