“The incidental support group”: The treatment team playing a central role in the sphere of care

Eleanor Law, Afaf Girgis, Janelle Veronica Levesque, Sylvie D Lambert, Hany Elsaleh

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Colorectal cancer is associated with considerable physical and psychosocial burden. Whilst social support is known to facilitate psychological adjustment to cancer, patients’ and carers’ experiences of social support within a treatment setting and their perceptions of the role of the treating team in providing this support in unknown.

Aims: To explore within a treatment setting patients’ and carers’ a) experiences of social support and how this relates to their experience of treatment; b) factors facilitating support; and c) perceptions of interventions that would assist with meeting their social support needs.

Methods: Individual interviews were conducted with patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and carers of such patients (target N=20 total). Audiotaped interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a grounded theory approach.

Results: A theory of social support with four major themes emerged from the data: a) treating team as a source of support, highlighting the importance of connection with the treating team; b) changes in existing social supports, encompassing issues regarding distance in interpersonal relationships as a consequence of cancer; c) differing dimensions of support, exploring the significance of practical, financial, and emotional support and d) dyadic coping, investigating the interplay between stress and coping in patients and their carers.

Conclusions: The perception of the treating team as a major source of support indicates that patients and carers are receiving adequate access to the multidisciplinary team in order to meet their support needs. However, this has implications for patients and carers moving into the survivorship phase, when this source of support is likely to be significantly diminished. Subsequently this has ramifications for health services planning.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventClinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2015: Rare Cancers: Common Goals - Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Hobart, Australia
Duration: 17 Nov 201519 Nov 2015
Conference number: 42nd
https://www.cosa.org.au/events/past-annual-scientific-meetings/ (Past annual meetings on the society's website)


ConferenceClinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2015
Abbreviated titleCOSA ASM 2015
OtherRare Cancers: Common Goals
17-19 November 2015
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania
Theme: Rare cancers Resources
Program: Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, November 2015 Video recordings: Select recordings are available for COSA members to view.
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