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Clinical guidance for responding to suffering in adults with cancer

Areas of further research

Based on the evidence included in the systematic review, the following future research areas were identified:

  • Clarifying the impact of psycho-educational interventions on spiritual wellbeing, sense of coherence and hopelessness.
  • The impact of supportive-expressive interventions on hope, spiritual wellbeing, self-transcendence and purpose in life.
  • Whether stress reduction interventions can be generalised to wider patient cohorts and if other specific patient populations benefit differently from such interventions.
  • Particular subsets of patients who would benefit the most from meaning-centred interventions that focus on measures of hopelessness, desire for death, and will to live.
  • Examining individual differences in coping styles between study populations to further explore the results of interventions that aim to alleviate suffering.
  • The development of self-help and web based programs for patients to address suffering.
  • The relationship between depression and suffering.
  • Identifying and responding to unrealistic expectations and denial.
  • The meaning of requests for physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia and best-practice responses to these requests from clinicians.
  • Barriers and enablers of effective communication with people experiencing suffering.
  • The relationship between psychological resilience and suffering.

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