Co-afflicted but invisible: A qualitative study of perceptions among informal caregivers in cancer care

  • Mattias Tranberg, Magdalena Andersson, Mef Nilbert, Birgit H Rasmussen
  • Journal of Health Psychology, November 2019, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1359105319890407

Co-afflicted but invisible - the experience of caring for a loved one with cancer

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

What is it about?

We interviewed 28 informal caregivers about their experience of caring for a loved one with cancer. Through focus groups interviews we could see three recurring themes: Setting aside one's own needs, assuming the role of project manager, and losing one's sense of identity. Together these themes formed the framing theme "Being co-afflicted".

Why is it important?

There are many people with cancer, and for each person with cancer there is a number of people who are close to them. These people often become caregivers to some extent, and for some, the role has a high price. Society benefits from informal caregivers, as it saves money for the health care system, but takes little or no responsibility for the well-being of the informal caregivers. We think that informal caregivers should receive more support.


Mattias Tranberg
Lunds Universitet

I have worked in oncology and at first I thought it was strange that we didn't offer support for informal caregivers. When we eventually did, there were very few that actually signed up. Turns out they didn't have the time to take care of themselves. Working on this article has given me new perspectives on how much cancer impacts us all, either we get directly afflicted ourselves or if we become co-afflicted.

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The following have contributed to this page: Mattias Tranberg