The Psychosocial Experiences and the Needs of Women Patients Diagnosed With Cervical Cancer: The Case of Black Lion Hospital Cervical Cancer Patients

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Addis Ababa University


Cancer is an emerging public health issue in Africa and in which Cervical cancer is count to be the second most widespread cancer among women. Despite the availability of large number of cancer patients in Ethiopia there is no national cancer control program and there is no cancer registration process. Moreover there is only one referral governmental health institution in the country for all cancer cases. The overall objective of this study was to explore and understand the psychosocial experiences and needs of women patients who are diagnosed with cervical cancer. This study was carried out in Black Lion Referral Hospital. A total of 15 participants (12 patients and 3 key informants) were purposively selected to take part in the study. The study employed a qualitative method with an exploratory case study design. Data was gathered through in-depth interviews made with the cases and key informants. In organizing the data, thematic content analysis method which involves transcription, translation, coding and categorization and theme development was employed. Findings of this study revealed that women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer have faced with tremendous physiological, psychological and social challenges as a result of their illness. The challenges they have faced following to their diagnosis and in the course of their treatments were not only exceptionally personal but affected various levels of their personal, family, professional and social lives. According to the finding of this study, lack of screening service in the origin, distant of the treatment location, inaccessibility of beds for treatment admission in the hospital, non-affordability of treatments , poor communication among the health professional and the patients, lack of information about the illness and its treatments, intimacy issues and separation from families and loved ones, remission of the illness after some stage of the treatments, financial crisis, depression and hopelessness were found to be patients psychosocial need during their diagnosis with cervical cancer and in the course of their treatments. However, participants also shared common coping mechanisms such as attending religious rituals, seeking social support systems during the diagnosis and in their treatments phases. The findings of this study suggests that the government should give a priority in the developing healthy milieu and increasing access to quality of health services to cancer patients, principally in regional level. Furthermore health social workers need to develop sensitive and responsive skills to assist patients to deal with their psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual needs during the diagnosis with cervical cancer and in the course of the treatments



Cervical cancer; diagnosis; treatment; psychosocial; experience; need