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Background: Cancer is the leading cause of death for both men and women in Canada. Professionally or nonprofessionally led support groups have been recognized as a significant source of psychosocial support for cancer survivors. However, the participation rate was low and reasons for leaving a support group were not explored fully.
Purpose: To explore the reasons why Chinese cancer survivors left or did not attend a cancer support group in Toronto.
Methods: In-depth individual qualitative interviews were conducted. Five Chinese cancer survivors participated in in-depth interviews. Colaizzi’s phenomenological method was used to analyze the interview data.
Results: Four themes were extracted from the in-depth interviews: “not fit in”, “not satisfied with the information provided”, “tried to be a normal person”, and “lack reliable transportation and convenient scheduling”.
Conclusion: Cancer support groups can improve cancer survivors’ physical and psychosocial outcomes. The services can also help cancer survivors to obtain health related information and connect with professionals and peers. In recognizing the reasons why cancer survivors left support groups, health-care providers need to evaluate and be aware of the needs and difficulties for cancer survivors to attend support groups. They should match cancer survivors with appropriate groups. More language-friendly groups need to be launched, so cancer patients can easily find a suitable one from their neighborhood.
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