Objective: Head & Neck Cancer (HNC) survivors encounter unique challenges following treatment. This study aimed to identify self-management strategies that HNC survivors use to overcome these post-treatment challenges.
Methods: Twenty-seven individuals from four designated cancer centres in Ireland were interviewed about self-management strategies that helped them overcome challenges following HNC treatment. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using directed content analysis.
Results: Twenty self-management strategy types (encompassing 77 specific strategies) were identified. The most frequently used self-management strategy types were Self-sustaining (used by 26 survivors), Self-motivating (n = 25) and Proactive problem solving (n = 25). The most frequently used specific strategies were adaptive approaches to ongoing physical consequences of HNC and its treatment (n = 24), customizing dietary practices (n = 24) and maintaining a positive outlook (n = 22).
Conclusions: The study identified strategies that helped HNC survivors to self-manage post-treatment challenges. This information could inform the design/development of self-management interventions tailored towards HNC survivors.