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Bereaved carers believe sarcoma is “second-class cancer”

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Missed opportunities related to delays in diagnosis and a lack of knowledge in primary care led bereaved family carers of people diagnosed with sarcoma to believe that sarcoma was considered a second-class cancer, according to a study.

Overarching themes amongst the 16 participants interviewed, included:

Beginning the journey;

Moving through treatment;

Transitioning to palliative care; and

Experiencing bereavement

All participants considered their journey to be ongoing.

“There were many questions about whether the ‘right’ decision was made, and reflections on how things could have been different, both in relation to treatment and in relation to experiences and missed opportunities…This contributed to the strong belief that sarcoma was considered a second class cancer, and resulted in rumination on the question; ‘what if?’ the authors wrote. “This appears to differentiate the bereavement experiences of carers of patients diagnosed with sarcoma from those whose family members were diagnosed with more common cancers.”

O’Connor M, Smith G, Pantaleo A, et al. “It’s always been a second class cancer”: An exploration of the experiences and journeys of bereaved family carers of people with sarcoma. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13(11):2670. doi: 10.3390/cancers13112670. PMID: 34071478.