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Volume 5, Issue 3 (March, 2017)
Burden, quality of life and distress of the main caregiver in head and neck, cervix and rectal cancer patients
Miguel I, Moreira A, Freire J
J Cancer Res Ther. 2017; Vol. 5 (3):14–18; doi:10.14312/2052-4994.2017-3
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Abstract Purpose: Based on Portuguese experience, current practice does not focus sufficiently on the caregiver needs through caring of the cancer patient. Understanding the impact of different tumor types on caregiver burden, quality of life, and distress may help with organizing resources more efficiently to provide enhanced support for patients and caregivers. Methods: Ninety main caregivers of patients with cervix, rectal and head and neck cancer were interviewed at Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil. The Portuguese versions of Zarit Burden Interview, Caregiver Quality of Life Index - Cancer (CQOLC) Scale and the distress thermometer were used. Results: The majority of caregivers were female (76.7%), median age was 45.5years (20-79), 40% were spouses and 38.7% sons/daughters. Zarit Burden Interview average score was 25.2 ± 11.6, higher on head and neck cancer group. 59.5% of caregivers had moderate burden and no cases of severe burden. Mean quality of life score was 64.8 ± 15.8 which was lower in the head and neck group. Average distress score across the three groups was seven and rectal group presented a lower score than the other two groups. A subgroup analysis (gender, kinship relation, employment status and cohabitation before starting care) of caregivers characteristics showed no statistical differences. Conclusion: There were little differences in the experience of caring within caregivers based on the three different cancer groups, although caregivers of patients with head and neck cancer scored consistently worse in the three scales studied. More efforts should be taken to optimize coping strategies for these caregivers, as well as non-cohabitant and active caregivers, who had a worse caring experience.
Keywords: caregiver; burden; quality of life; distress; cancer; palliative care
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