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  • 1.
    Röing, Marta
    et al.
    Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.
    Hirsch, Jan M.
    Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.
    Holmström, Inger
    Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Ways of understanding the encounter with head and neck cancer patients in the hospital dental team - a phenomenographic study2006In: Supportive Care in Cancer, ISSN 0941-4355, E-ISSN 1433-7339, Vol. 14, no 10, p. 1046-1054Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction: Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common malignancy in the world. Fifty percent of the patients can be cured by surgery, radiotherapy or a combination approach. Head and neck cancer is life-threatening, and treatment may leave the patient with visible facial disfigurements and impairment of functions such as speech and eating. This affects not only the patient, but may arouse difficult feelings in the treatment staff. Dental personnel are involved in all facets of treatment, yet they have no specific training in cancer care. Background: The aim of this study was to describe the variation in ways dental personnel understand and experience the encounter with head and neck cancer patients, as the way of understanding a certain phenomenon is judged to be fundamental to the way we act and form our beliefs. Methods: Twenty members of hospital dental teams were interviewed. The interviews focused on experiences of the encounter with head and neck cancer patients. A qualitative research approach, phenomenography, was used in analysing the interviews. The encounter was perceived in three qualitatively different ways: as an act of caring, as a serious and responsible task and as an overwhelming emotional situation. The results indicate that hospital dental personnel are not able to lean on education and professional training in finding ways of dealing with situations with strong emotional impact. This has implications for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer, as well as education of dental personnel.

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