How to summarise and report written qualitative data from patients: a method for use in cancer support care

Support Care Cancer. 2007 Aug;15(8):963-71. doi: 10.1007/s00520-007-0283-2. Epub 2007 Jul 10.


Goals of work: The goal of this study is the determination of key themes to aid the analysis of qualitative data collected at three cancer support centres in England, using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW) questionnaire.

Patients and methods: People with cancer who use complementary therapies experience and value a wide range of treatment effects, yet tools are urgently required to quantitatively measure these outcomes. MYCaW is an individualised questionnaire used in cancer support centres providing complementary therapies, scoring 'concerns or problems' and 'well-being' and collecting qualitative data about other major events in a patient's life and what has been most important to the patient. Content analysis on 782 MYCaW questionnaires from people at these cancer support centres was carried out. The 'concerns,' 'other things going on in their life' and 'important aspects of centre' were thematically categorised and externally validated by a focus group, and the inter-rater reliability was calculated.

Main results: Clinical information from a cancer patient's perspective was collected that is not measured on standard quality-of-life questionnaires; furthermore, some themes acknowledge the multi-faceted aspects of complementary and alternative medicine provision, rather than information only relating to the therapeutic intervention. Categories for qualitative MYCaW analysis have been established providing a tool for future research and/or service delivery improvement within cancer support centres such as these.

Conclusions: The established themes provide a framework to aid analysis of qualitative aspects of complementary therapy care for people with cancer, improving our understanding of how the patient's cancer experience can be aided by complementary therapies in specialised cancer centres.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • England
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires