Dukkha Experience of Patients Living with Cancer in Palliative Care: a Qualitative Study
AbstractBackground:The study on the suffering experience of cancer patients under palliative treatment revealed the meanings of “suffering” as “hardship and struggling life, causing both physical and psychological ordeal.” However, there are few studies to uncover the suffering experiences of patients in the context of Buddhism or “Dukkha.” This study therefore aimed to explore the experience of cancer patients under palliative treatment.
Method: Participants included 8 cancer patients treated with palliative scheme (4 males, and 4 females). Data were collected with individual interviews before being analyzed with phenomenological qualitative methods.
Results: Findings revealed three main themes. The first theme is characteristics of suffering, including hardship, struggling lives causing physical and mental ordeals, and emotional suffering such as frustration, grievances, tensions, or pressure. The second theme is disease-related suffering experience, including a sudden encounter with changes, anxiety, doubts, and inquiry on the future upon learning of the disease, all of which differed from one patient to another. The third theme is encounter with death, including preparing oneself physically and mentally for cancer-induced death.
Conclusion: This study helps shed light on the suffering of the cancer patients under palliative medical treatment. The cancer patients reported that they face great physical and psychological suffering in various aspects. With moral support and attention from health-care professionals including people around them, the patients could muster their strong will power to fight against the maladies in hope that this would alleviate their illness
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