Purpose: This review paper aimed to draw together the findings of qualitative research into the symptom experience of adult cancer patients in order to develop a better understanding of symptom experiences following cancer treatment. Methods: Systematic review and meta-synthesis techniques were used to identify, appraise and synthesise the relevant literature. Results: A thematic account of shared symptom experiences reported across papers is presented. Four main themes are discussed: interaction with health services, changing relationships, changing self and coping. In addition the range of symptoms reported across qualitative cancer research is highlighted. Conclusions: Unexpected symptoms can have negative effects on patients who need to be better prepared for long-term symptom experiences. In addition, it is important to acknowledge that patients' symptom experiences do not happen in isolation and should be addressed holistically within the context of patients' lives.
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