Cancer survivorship in Australia continues to increase due to new methods for early detection and treatment. Cancer survivors face challenges in the survivorship phase and require ongoing support. A telephone-delivered cancer survivorship program (CSP), including health and mental health coaches, was developed, piloted, and evaluated in Eastern Australia.
Cancer survivors’ (n = 7), coaches’ (n = 7), and hospital staff (n = 3) experiences of the CSP were explored through semi-structured interviews. Quantitative data routinely collected throughout the pilot of the CSP was described (N = 25).
Three syntheses and 11 themes were generated through thematic analysis. The first synthesis centred around operational factors and highlighted a need to streamline communication from the point of recruitment, through to program delivery, emphasising that the program could be beneficial when timed right and tailored correctly. The second synthesis indicated that the CSP focused on appropriate information, filled a gap in support, and met the needs of cancer survivors by empowering them. The third synthesis focussed on the value of mental health support in the CSP, but also highlighted challenges coaches faced in providing this support. Descriptive analysis of quantitative data indicated improvements in self-management, weekly physical activity, and meeting previously unmet needs.
Cancer survivors expressed appreciation for the support they received through the CSP and, in line with other cancer survivorship research, predominantly valued just having somebody in their corner.
Implications for cancer survivors
Recommendations are made for improving cancer survivorship programs in the future.