Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Are Psychological Predictors of Well-Being Stable in Oncological Patients? an Investigation on Two Romanian Samples of Cancer Patients from 2007 and 2014

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Are Psychological Predictors of Well-Being Stable in Oncological Patients? an Investigation on Two Romanian Samples of Cancer Patients from 2007 and 2014

Article excerpt

For most patients and their relatives the confrontation with a cancer diagnosis and associated treatment may be a devastating experience (Bolund, 1990), which usually implies considerable amounts of pain and suffering. A high percentage of cancer-patients is confronted with a wide range of physical, emotional, interpersonal, social, professional, and spiritual problems, which dynamically change across the trajectory of the disease (Costanzo, Ryff, & Singer, 2009; Deshields, Tibbs, Fan, & Taylor, 2006; Grassi & Riba, 2012).

Forecast for the next decade indicates a massive, over 50% increase in cancer related illnesses (Massie & Greenberg, 2005; WHO 2008a; 2008b). Fortunately, advances in detection and treatment methods resulted in significant increases in the life expectancy of cancer survivors (Ries, Harkins, Krapcho, Mariotto, Miller, Feuer et al., 2006, as cited in Costanzo, Stawski, Ryff, Coe, & Almeida, 2012), and many forms of cancer-related diseases have become chronic (Guex, 1989). Consequently, interest has gradually shifted towards the investigation of additional cancer-related aspects that transcend the mere physical functioning (i.e., disease progress, specificities of physical symptoms) (Aaronson, 1990). These investigations are based on the observations that many of the cancer-related parameters (e.g., emotional functioning, well-being, quality of life) may seriously affect the physical course of the illness, but are not quantifiable through bio-medical methods (Goerling & Stickel, 2015).

Regardless of the multiple implications of oncological diseases, the major priority in cancer treatment should still remain the control of the tumor progression (Aaronson, 1990; Donovan, Sanson-Fisher, & Redman, 1989). However, it also became imperative to offer information regarding how well patients can live with their illness, the emphasis shifting from "how to prepare for a fatal outcome" to "knowing how to survive" (Guex, 1989, p. 25). In other words, the investigation of different aspects of the quality of cancer-patients' lives (Goerling & Sticker, 2015), of the factors/mechanisms implied, and the development of effective interventions meant to improve these aspects is crucial and has numerous implications.

The World Health Organization defines quality of life (QoL) as an individual's subjective perception of his or her life position in relation to specific goals, expectations, and values (WHO 1993). Basically, QoL represents a state of well-being with two fundamental components: (i) the capacity to fulfill daily activities (physical, psychological, and social well-being - the individual's perception of his/her own condition), and (ii) satisfaction regarding his/her functioning and the capacity to exert control in the assessment of symptoms and efficiency of treatment (functional well-being) (Gotay, Korn, McCabe, Moore, & Cheson, 1992).

In cancer patients, health-related quality of life (HQoL) represents the patient's assessment regarding the effects of the illness and treatment from a very personal, subjective perspective, which oftentimes does not correspond with the actual state of illness (Degi, 2011; Patrick, Kinne, Engelberg, & Pearlman, 2000).

Even if treatment may generally improve the QoL of the patients, a variety of side-effects may produce significant impairments in specific areas of functioning (Bardwell & Fiorentiono, 2012; Goh, Steele, Jones, & Munro, 2013). A considerable number of studies (Dancey, Zee, Osoba, Whitehead, Lu, & Kaizer, 1997; Gotay, Kawamoto, Bottomley, & Efficace, 2008; Montazeri, 2009; Quinten et al., 2009; Quinten et al., 2011) has shown that, regardless of the type of the tumor (e.g., breast, pulmonary, ovarian cancer, metastasis), cancer patients' QoL is an important predictor of the survival rate. Moreover, research has systematically indicated that the regular use of QoL measures is highly beneficial for the doctor-patient relationship (Detmar, Muller, Schornagel, Wever, & Aaronson, 2002; Goerling & Stickel, 2015; Velikova et al. …

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