The lived experiences of patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study

4 Sep 2023
Gracia Fahed, Angie H Fares, Aya Ghosn, Alain Greige, Elsa Hebbo, Kim Naja, Pamela Moukarzel, Salame Haddad, Antoine Finianos, Gladys Honein, Elie A Akl

Background: The objective of this study was to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the lived experiences of patients with cancer in Lebanon.

Methods: We adopted a descriptive phenomenological approach. We included adults who had been diagnosed with cancer before the pandemic and undergoing treatment at the American University of Beirut Medical Centre. We conducted virtual, semi-structured in-depth interviews with either video or audio recordings. Two team members coded the transcripts independently and identified common themes and patterns.

Results: We recruited 11 participants for the study. The analysis identified the following six themes: perceived seriousness of COVID-19, fear of COVID-19 versus fear of cancer, coping mechanisms, treatment availability and accessibility, compliance with public health and social measures and precautionary measures in the healthcare system. The coping mechanisms included staying positive, seeking normalcy, using family support, religiosity and fatalism.

Conclusion: Faced with many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with cancer resorted to a range of coping strategies.

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