Challenges of children with cancer and their mothers: A qualitative research

Negar Reisi‑Dehkordi, Hajar Baratian, Ali Zargham‑Boroujeni




Background: Cancer is one of the major causes of death in children and adolescents. About 4% of deaths in children of age less than 5 years and 13% of deaths in children of age 5-15 years are due to cancer in Iranian population. The disease can cause many problems, which are usually detected by a psychologist, for the children and their mothers. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the psychological challenges of the children with cancer and their mothers’ experience.

Materials and Methods: This is a qualitative research conducted through thematic analysis approach. Semi‑structured interviews were used to collect the data. Purposive sampling was conducted. The numbers of the children and their mothers participating in this study were 34 and 32, respectively.

Results: Data analysis showed that the problems faced by children with cancer and their mothers fell into five main categories. These categories included spiritual, psychological (such as aggression, anxiety, depression), communicational problems, inadequate knowledge (about the disease, its treatment, and treatment complications), and care‑related problems.

Conclusions: The results showed that lack of awareness and spiritual problems were the most important problems of the patients and their mothers. If necessary knowledge about the disease and its treatment and complications is given to the children and their mothers at the time of diagnosis, and also, spiritual care interventions are administered during treatment, their psychological problems can be notably reduced.

Key words: Cancer, children, Iran, qualitative research

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