Barriers to active self-management following treatment for head and neck cancer: Survivors’ perspectives

Simon Dunne, Laura Coffey, Linda Sharp, Aileen Timmons, Deirdre Desmond, Rachael Gooberman-Hill, Eleanor O-Sullivan, Ivan Keogh, Conrad Timon, Pamela Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
226 Downloads (Pure)


Active self‐management practices may help head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors to deal with challenges to their physical, functional, social, and psychological well‐being presented by HNC and its treatment. This study investigates the factors perceived by HNC survivors to act as barriers to their active self‐management following primary treatment.

In this qualitative study, 27 HNC survivors identified through 4 designated cancer centres in Ireland participated in face‐to‐face semistructured interviews. Interviews were audio‐recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis.

Four themes (and associated subthemes) describing barriers to survivors' active self‐management were identified: emotional barriers (eg, fear of recurrence), symptom‐related barriers (eg, loss of taste), structural barriers (eg, access to appropriate health services), and self‐evaluative barriers (eg, interpersonal self‐evaluative concerns).

This is the first study to describe HNC survivors' views about barriers to their active self‐management after treatment. The findings have important implications for self‐management research and intervention development concerning HNC survivorship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2382-2388
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Early online date29 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • cancer
  • cancer survivorship
  • head and neck cancer
  • oncology
  • psycho‐oncology
  • qualitative
  • self‐management


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