Asking for support. The case of families with children suffering cancer

Jasmín V Cacante C, María Mercedes Arias Valencia


In the majority of countries cancer is an increasing public health problem affecting infant population. In our milieu few studies are available about the support that parents receive. To establish the degree of support required by those who share the experience of suffering is important to favor better intervention and professional care. Objective: to describe the process of support that families of children with cancer experience during their oncology illness. Methodology: a study with grounded theory approach carried out by 18 interviews to mothers in different moments of the child illness, during 2005 and 2006. Results: families assume the larger part of the care burden, especially the mothers activating support networks, arousing sympathy and looking for help until they find it. Conclusions: the needs and forms of support change according to the phase of the illness. Observing the formal and informal support networks we find them insufficient and accordingly a solidarity network should emerge. In any case mothers are the principal support of the suffering children. Recommendations: to establish social support to share in the assistance and family care of children with cancer. Integrate informational, evaluative and emotional support would diminish uncertainty and increase self-esteem, provide company and encouragement during the illness.


cáncer, familia, apoyo social, investigación cualitativa, Colombia

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