Spouses, survivors don't see eye to eye after bone marrow transplants

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In a newly published study, researchers interviewed thirty spouse–survivor pairs (averaging 13 years post-BMT) looking to identify "lasting life changes." Specifically, they were asked to identify:

- Their most significant long-lasting change since cancer/BMT
- Their most significant positive change
- Their most significant negative change
- Whether the experience had affected them and their spouse differently

Spouses more often reported negative changes (24%) than survivors (15%), and survivors more often reported positive changes (85%) than spouses (76%).

Both survivors and spouses said the most significant positve change was in their ‘perspective/outlook on life’, and that the most significant negative change was ‘lingering health effects' (although survivors mentioned this twice as often).

Interestingly, spouses "were more likely to talk about changes in the first-person plural (we, us) that were largely emotional or in relation to the survivor, whereas survivors spoke of changes in the first-person singular (I, me) that occurred to them directly and were largely physical."

CONCLUSIONS
"Although both spouses and survivors described similar negative and positive long-lasting changes that continued an average of 13 years post-BMT, they reported differences in the ways they were impacted by the experience, which was reflected in the language they used."

CANCER TYPE(S)
Not indicated

TREATMENT TYPE(S)
Bone marrow transplantation

WHERE WAS THIS RESEARCH PUBLISHED?
The journal Psycho-Oncology

By Ross Bonander

Citation
Bishop MM et al. "Comparison of lasting life changes after cancer and BMT: perspectives of long-term survivors and spouses." Psycho-Oncology. Published online: 4 AUG 2010, DOI10.1002/pon.1812

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