Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Cancer and Serious Mental Illness: what are the perspectives of patients and those who care for them?

James Millman
Karen Galway
Olinda Santin
Joanne Reid

Queens University Belfast - School of Nursing and Midwifery

It is well known and documented that people with serious mental illness (SMI) are more likely to suffer from physical comorbidities, such as diabetes, respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease. It is also becoming clear that SMI patients who develop cancer are more likely to die than cancer patients without an SMI diagnosis. Often these health inequalities are linked to medication side-effects and lifestyle factors such as smoking. This problem is being treated increasingly seriously and is gaining more and more attention in the literature. There have been some suggestions that psychiatric symptoms and related stigma may result in patients receiving sub-optimal care. The area has however received little robust research attention. The views of patients and of those caring for them is an area that has been particularly neglected. In our paper ‘Cancer and Serious Mental Illness: Patient, Caregiver and Professional Perspectives’ we outline a study currently underway, consisting of semi-structured interviews with these groups. The study aims are to develop recommendations that can benefit the stakeholders involved. The process of the study will also illuminate what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to accessing mental health service users and their families for qualitative research. We look forward to publishing results of the study in due course, in JAN.


Millman J.Galway K.Santin O. & Reid J. (2015Cancer and serious mental illness – patient, caregiver and professional perspectives: study protocol Journal of Advanced Nursing DOI: 10.1111/jan.12812

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