What Facilitates “Patient Empowerment” in Cancer Patients During Follow-Up: A Qualitative Systematic Review of the Literature

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Empowerment is a concept of growing importance in cancer care, but little is known about cancer patients’ experiences of empowerment during follow-up. To explore this area, a qualitative systematic literature review was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. A total of 2,292 papers were identified and 38 articles selected and included in the review. The thematic synthesis of the papers resulted in seven analytical themes being identified: empowerment as an ongoing process, knowledge is power, having an active role, communication and interaction between patients and health care professionals, support from being in a group, religion and spirituality, and gender. Very few articles explicitly explored the empowerment of cancer patients during follow-up, and the review identified a lack of attention to patients’ own understandings of empowerment, a lack of specific focus on empowerment during follow-up, and insufficient attention to collective empowerment, as well as ethnic, social, and gender differences.

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