Exploring unmet needs from an online metastatic breast cancer support group: A qualitative study

Kadravello, Aravinthan and Tan, Seng-Beng and Ho, Gwo-Fuang and Kaur, Ranjit and Yip, Cheng-Har (2021) Exploring unmet needs from an online metastatic breast cancer support group: A qualitative study. Medicina, 57 (7). ISSN 1010-660X, DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57070693.

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Background and Objective: Despite the increasing treatment options for patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), unmet needs remain common, especially in low and middle-income countries where resources are limited and MBC patients face many challenges. They often join support groups to cope with their unmet needs. Currently, many MBC patients connect with each other via online support group in view of the constant availability of support and rapid information exchange. The objective of this study is to determine the unmet needs of women with MBC from an online support group. Material and Methods: Messages in an online support group of twenty-two MBC patients over a period of three years from August 2016 till August 2019 were thematically analyzed. Results: Three themes were generated, (1) unmet information needs (2) unmet financial needs (3) unmet support needs. Women needed information on side effects of treatment, new treatment options and availability of clinical trials. Although Malaysia has universal health care coverage, access to treatment remains a major challenge. When treatment was not available in the public hospitals, or waiting lists were too long, women were forced to seek treatment in private hospitals, incurring financial catastrophe. Insufficient private insurance and inadequate social security payments force many women to consider stopping treatment. Women felt that they were not getting support from their clinicians in the public sector, who were quick to stop active treatment and advise palliation. On the other hand, clinicians in the private sector advise expensive treatment beyond the financial capability of the patients. Women with families also face the challenge of managing their family and household in addition to coping with their illness. Conclusions: There is a need for healthcare professionals, policy makers, and civil society to better address the needs of MBC patients through patient-centered, multidisciplinary and multi-organizational collaboration.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Unmet needs; Metastatic breast cancer; Low and middle-income countries
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine > Medicine Department
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2022 00:49
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 00:49
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/27930

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