Perceived Threats toward Esophageal Cancer among Immediate Relatives of Sufferers: a Qualitative Study



Considering life-threatening nature of cancer and the problems that it causes for patients and families, recognizing their perspectives toward this issue is important. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine perceived threats by immediate relatives of patients with esophageal cancer.


Using content analysis approach, the present qualitative study was conducted in Golestan Province (north of Iran) in 2018. Through purposive sampling, 23 immediate relatives of patients with esophageal cancer were included in the study. The research techniques included semi-structured and deep interviews. We continued data collection to ensure data saturation was achieved. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, and then analyzed with Graneheim and Lundman’s approach of conventional content analysis. The MAXQDA 11 software was applied to conduct the coding process.


Following data analysis, two main categories including “perceived susceptibility” and “perceived severity” were identified for perceived threats. The main category of “perceived susceptibility” comprised of four subcategory, namely, perception of individual, environmental, psychological, and nutritional predisposing factors to the disease. Four subcategories were also extracted for the “perceived severity,” including perception of physical, psychological, therapeutic, and social consequences of the disease.


Immediate relatives of patients with esophagus cancer perceived high severity and susceptibility toward this disease and considered themselves vulnerable to this disease. Hence, they suffered from a lot of psychological stress. Development of appropriate interventions regarding the effects of disease-related individual and environmental factors and empowerment of individuals with regard to preventive disease behaviors can be an important step for improving the health of this group.

Registration Number

IRCT20180725040588N1, date registered: 2 October 2018.

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This study was qualitative study section of PhD thesis and was sponsored by Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran. The authors are thankful of all the participants and the chairman of the Cohort Center of Golestan Province (Iran) who sincerely cooperated with us.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sakineh Gerayllo.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All participants provided written informed consent to participate in the study. Also all participants consented/assented to having de-identified quotes used in publication in the consent/assent form.

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The project had ethical review and approval of Medical Sciences (ethical code: IR.SSU.SPH.REC.1396.125).


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Morowatisharifabad, M.A., Gerayllo, S., Jouybari, L. et al. Perceived Threats toward Esophageal Cancer among Immediate Relatives of Sufferers: a Qualitative Study. J Gastrointest Canc (2020).

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  • Qualitative study
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Family
  • Quality of life
  • Iran