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Ways of understanding the encounter with head and neck cancer patients in the hospital dental team - a phenomenographic study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research.
2006 (English)In: Supportive Care in Cancer, ISSN 0941-4355, E-ISSN 1433-7339, Vol. 14, no 10, 1046-1054 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common malignancy in the world. Fifty percent of the patients can be cured by surgery, radiotherapy or a combination approach. Head and neck cancer is life-threatening, and treatment may leave the patient with visible facial disfigurements and impairment of functions such as speech and eating. This affects not only the patient, but may arouse difficult feelings in the treatment staff. Dental personnel are involved in all facets of treatment, yet they have no specific training in cancer care. Background: The aim of this study was to describe the variation in ways dental personnel understand and experience the encounter with head and neck cancer patients, as the way of understanding a certain phenomenon is judged to be fundamental to the way we act and form our beliefs. Methods: Twenty members of hospital dental teams were interviewed. The interviews focused on experiences of the encounter with head and neck cancer patients. A qualitative research approach, phenomenography, was used in analysing the interviews. The encounter was perceived in three qualitatively different ways: as an act of caring, as a serious and responsible task and as an overwhelming emotional situation. The results indicate that hospital dental personnel are not able to lean on education and professional training in finding ways of dealing with situations with strong emotional impact. This has implications for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer, as well as education of dental personnel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 14, no 10, 1046-1054 p.
Keyword [en]
head and neck cancer, dental personnel, coping, phenomenography, professional competence
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96357DOI: 10.1007/s00520-006-0043-8ISI: 000240798900009PubMedID: 16572314OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96357DiVA: diva2:170907
Available from: 2007-11-08 Created: 2007-11-08 Last updated: 2011-06-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Understanding Oral Cancer - A Lifeworld Approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Oral Cancer - A Lifeworld Approach
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Dental involvement with oral cancer patients during their treatment and rehabilitation can be long and intense. How can dental personnel better understand their role in the treatment of these patients? How does treatment affect the patients and their spouses? In searching for answers, the theories of phenomenography, phenomenology and hermeneutics are used to describe and interpret the experiences of the hospital dental treatment teams, oral cancer patients, and their spouses.

Study I reveals that hospital dental treatment teams perceive the encounter with head and neck cancer patients in three qualitatively different ways; as an act of caring, as a serious and responsible task, and as an overwhelming emotional situation, indicating that they are not always able to lean on education and professional training in dealing with situations with strong emotional impact. Study II gives insight into the lifeworld of oral cancer patients, and how the patient becomes embodied in a mouth that is increasingly `uncanny´, as it slowly ceases to function normally. Study III shows that oral cancer puts a hold on the lifeworld of the patients’ spouses which can be described as `living in a state of suspension´. These findings suggest that the support needs of patients and spouses appear to be greatest at treatment end, when, upon returning home, they are faced with the accumulated impact of the patients’ sickness and treatment. Study IV gives insight into what it may mean to live with the consequences of oral cancer, revealing a silent physical, emotional and existential struggle to adjust to a changed way of living.

This thesis raises the question if todays’ organisation of oral cancer care can meet the varying emotional and existential needs of treatment teams, patients and spouses that were brought to light.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2007. 64 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 284
Keyword
Surgery, Oral cancer, Dentistry, Lifeworld approach, Phenomenography, Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Multiprofessional collabotation, Kirurgi
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8284 (URN)978-91-554-7004-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-11-29, Fåhreussalen, Rudbecklaboratoriet, Dag Hammarskjölds vag 20, Uppsala, 13:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-11-08 Created: 2007-11-08 Last updated: 2010-12-28Bibliographically approved

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Röing, MartaHirsch, Jan M.Holmström, Inger

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