Social by Qiang et al., Chinese patients with

Social support is defined as
various types of support that people receive from others. (seeman, 2008) It can
be classified into emotional, instrumental and informational support. Social
support is mostly provided by spouses, relatives or friends. However, informational
support can also be provided by strangers on the internet.

Cancer remains as a prevalent
medical condition as 12.7million people each year discover that they have
cancer (Huffington, 2011), which causes the estimated medical expenditure on cancer
drugs to be $107 billion in 2015 alone (Tirrell, 2016) In other studies, nearly
600,000 people die from cancer each year in the United States with the most
common cause of death is lung cancer for both gender. However, the most common
cancer for male is prostate cancer and breast cancer for women. (Fayed, 2017) Hence,
with these factors, cancer can prove to affect a person’s quality of life

The purpose of this review is
to show the importance of Social Support that it can greatly impact the lives
of cancer patients through providing a better quality of life by having more
control over their disease or have better effects on patient’s physical,
psychological and social functioning.

This is relevant to nursing as
currently, Singapore is facing an increasing rise in the number of cancer
cases. Comparing the year 2010 to 2014, the latter has seen an increase of 17%
in cancer cases, which is bound to continue its increment. (Tai, 2015) Hence,
this review can show the importance of social support in boosting the quality
of life for cancer patients.  





the articles, some of the social support received would be from people the
patients know such as spouses and friends, and strangers such as online support

Spouses, relatives and
Patients with cancer are bound to have a poorer quality of life, be it during
treatment or during the recovery stage. The quality of life of a patient can be
affected by physical health such as pain, fatigue or side effects from
medications. It can also be affected my mental health such as stress due to
financial issues or the fear of recurrence. (komen, 2016)

In a study done by Qiang et
al., Chinese patients with recurrent ovarian cancer had experienced anxiety and
depression during the treatment phases due to complications and side effects.
(Reich et al., 2008.), (Watts et al. 2015) This data was gathered by using
Chinese version of Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale developed by Zigmond
and Snaith. The quality of life was measured by the European Organization for
Research and Treatment (EORCT) and the Chinese version of QLQ-OV28. Results
revealed that social support consisting of family and friends were associated
with decrease in scores for mental health such as anxiety (P = 0.014) and
depression (P = 0.040). Family support also improved quality of life as it
improved cognitive functions (P = 0.002), social functions (P = 0.031),
financial difficulties (P = 0.015) and fatigue (P = 0.045). In a similar study,
studies showed that breast cancer who received inadequate social support is
related to an increase in cancer-related mortality. Also, social isolation can
be as dangerous as risk factors like high blood pressure and smoking. 


Online support groups
support group is a gathering of people who share a common health concern or
interest. They often share experiences and advice. (Mayoclinic, 2015) 
Being active in an online support group can help improve physician-patient
relationship and decision-making. In a study done by Huber, a survey
with dynamic questionnaire was given to participants of the largest German
prostate cancer online support group. Out of the 686 results, 200 (29.2%)
changed their initial treatment due to advices from the group. Those who
changed opted for external beam radiation therapy (44.5% vs 36.4%) and active
surveillance (10.5% vs 3.7%) more frequently, while radical prostatectomy was
more unfavoured (52.5% vs 74.9%). Patients who changed their initial treatment
plan wanted more physician-patient relationship, gathers information about their
health online and were more participative in the online support group. To add
on, changing the initial treatment could make patients feel more independent of
their own condition and in control, leading to benefits such as a better
quality of life due to lower amounts of depression and anxiety.







In conclusion, the presence of
social support onto patients with cancer does in fact help to improve the
quality of life by promoting the mental and physical wellbeing of patients. Patients
who received more social support were healthier, facing lesser signs of mental
distress and felt more independent. These studies were conducted to gather data
from young adults to adults, which means that their quality of life would not
be affected by other variables such as old age. However, there are some factors
which I think may affect the results. All 3 studies were done on patients with
cancers which are gender focused. For example, ovarian cancer can only occur in
females, prostate cancer can only occur in males and while breast cancer on
occur in both genders, occurrence in males is so rare that less than 1% occur
in males. As a result, the data collected only reflects the change in quality
of life for that specific gender. I would suggest that the research should be
conducted among non-gender related cancers such as lung cancer or bladder
cancer as this way, the results obtained could show the changes for both males
and females who are facing the same disease. Secondly, the research was
conducted in big countries such as China, Germany and Finland, whose culture greatly
differs from Singaporeans. Hence, making interventions in Singapore using this review
may not be the most accurate as the results of big, European countries may be
different from that of a small, southeast Asian island.