Conceptualising Iatrogenic uncertainty: an integrated perspective

Pascal, J., Sagan, O. and Basten, G. (2016) Conceptualising Iatrogenic uncertainty: an integrated perspective. In: British Psychosocial Oncology Society 2016 Annual Conference, 3-4 March 2016, Cambridge.

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Background: At the point of cancer diagnosis, practitioners may wrestle with dilemmas associated with medico‐legal implications of diagnosis, treatment options and disclosure to family members. Post‐diagnosis patients' perspectives can diverge, focusing instead on questions about the meaning and purpose of life, including managing long‐term interactions with health and mental health practitioners. Such interactions can create iatrogenic uncertainty, where treatment and follow up‐protocols reignite distress and serve to represent the fragility of survivorhood status. Aims: Our paper explores opportunities for integrated cancer care protocols across multidisciplinary teams. We outline ways psychologists, social workers and medical scientists can ameliorate, or work with, iatrogenic uncertainty to improve follow‐up and discharge ‘compliance’, thereby enhancing emotional well‐being for cancer survivors. Methods: The three researchers contributing represent both qualitative and quantitative approaches and are involved in three different disciplines of health inquiry. Together, we have undertaken a meta‐analysis of our original data, and these analyses have been brought together to form a corpus from which the findings in this paper derive. Results: Iatrogenic uncertainty was present regardless of cancer stage or diagnostic type, pervaded throughout length of survival and focused on the experience of anxiety about recurrence and metastatic disease. In particular, participants reported iatrogenic uncertainty induced by tests and treatment with surveillance regimes underscoring mortality awareness. Conclusions: Our findings have implications for psychology, social work and medical and allied health practitioners and could enhance the design of discharge plans and follow‐up protocols for cancer survivors.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Divisions: School of Social Science
Depositing User: Graham Basten
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2019 15:00
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2019 15:00

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