Recovery and self-management support following primary cancer treatment

Br J Cancer. 2011 Nov 8;105 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S21-8. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.419.


Background: Around 2 million people are living with or beyond cancer in the UK. However, experiences and needs following primary treatment are relatively neglected. Following treatment, survivors may feel particularly vulnerable and face threats to their identity. We present a conceptual framework to inform areas of self-management support to facilitate recovery of health and well-being following primary cancer treatment.

Methods: To explain the framework, we draw on data from two studies: UK-wide consultation about cancer patients' research priorities and survivors' self-management in the year following primary cancer treatment.

Results: Self-confidence may be low following treatment. Recovery includes rebuilding lost confidence. Support to manage the impact of cancer on everyday life was a priority. Self-management support included health professionals, peers, employers, family, friends and online resources. However, support was not always available and confidence to access support could be low.

Conclusion: Cancer survivors may struggle to self-manage following primary treatment where confidence is low or support is lacking. Low confidence may be a significant barrier to accessing support. Supporting recovery of self-confidence is an important aspect of recovery alongside physical and psychosocial problems in the context of changing health care and cancer follow-up.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult