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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 336-341

An investigation into the quality of life of cancer patients in South Africa


1 Department of Nursing Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
2 Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Jacoba Johanna Maria Jansen van Rensburg
Senior Lecturer in Oncology Nursing, Department of Nursing Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/apjon.apjon_41_17

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Objective: Cancer patients in Africa face unique challenges such as poverty, access to health care and under-resourced health-care systems. Although quality of life (QoL) of cancer patients has been well researched, the perspectives of cancer patients living in Africa are unknown. The objective was to explore what constitutes QoL for cancer patients accessing public health care in South Africa. Methods: A qualitative exploratory design was used, and data were gathered by means of in-depth interviews. Purposive sampling selected the participants, and the sample size was determined by saturation (n = 22). The data were analyzed using Patton's method of content analysis. Results: The participants were aged between 20 and 79 years, with an average of 50 years. Most were female and represented seven cultural groups. Four themes that influence QoL arose from the data: psychosocial-, physical-, spiritual and financial factors. Conclusions: QoL remains a complex phenomenon, enhanced and diminished by various individual factors. Poverty was a major issue and influenced the physical aspects of QoL, as the participants had to be strong enough to work and earn a living. Support from family, friends, and church members enhanced QoL, as well as religion and religious practices. Measuring QoL would be the next step to enable nurses to implement measures to improve QoL. Whether existing QoL instruments would be suitable for this patient population is not known and should be investigated before implementation.


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