The Transition From Palliation With Anticancer Treatment to Palliation Without Anticancer Treatment: The Experiences of South African Patients and Their Families

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The purpose of our exploratory qualitative study was to study the experiences of patients and their families when transitioning from palliative care with anticancer treatment to palliative care without anticancer treatment. A total of 22 qualitative interviews were conducted, 11 with patients and 11 with their families, and analyzed using Tesch’s approach. Four themes arose from the patient data, and 3 themes from the family data. Our study highlights the shock and severe suffering of the patients and their families. Both the patients and families experienced various losses, such as the care they received from the health care professionals, while they were receiving treatment. They also had to cope with high symptom burdens, including uncontrolled pain. Some patients and family members were able to accept their own or their family member’s impending death, whereas others hoped for the miracle of cure.

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