Objective: Active self-management practices may help head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors to deal with challenges to their physical, functional, social, and psychological well-being presented by HNC and its treatment. This study investigates the factors perceived by HNC survivors to act as barriers to their active self-management following primary treatment.
Methods: In this qualitative study, 27 HNC survivors identified through 4 designated cancer centres in Ireland participated in face-to-face semistructured interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: Four themes (and associated subthemes) describing barriers to survivors' active self-management were identified: emotional barriers (eg, fear of recurrence), symptom-related barriers (eg, loss of taste), structural barriers (eg, access to appropriate health services), and self-evaluative barriers (eg, interpersonal self-evaluative concerns).
Conclusions: This is the first study to describe HNC survivors' views about barriers to their active self-management after treatment. The findings have important implications for self-management research and intervention development concerning HNC survivorship.