This paper reports the findings of a study undertaken in November 2001 on the experiences of 17 rural people from the regional city of Toowoomba who had been diagnosed with cancer and were required to travel to the capital city of Queensland (Brisbane) for radiotherapy. The interviews were tape recorded; the recordings were transcribed verbatim and analysed for emergent themes and subthemes, following verification by the participants that the transcription was a true record of their experience. The major themes that arose from the study were (1) the burden of travel; (2) the difficulties of living in accommodation that is not one's own home; (3) the financial burden caused by the need to relocate or travel to and from Brisbane; (4) the lack of closeness to family and friends; (5) and feelings of being a burden on others. The findings suggest that at a time of stress, an increasing burden is placed on cancer clients and their families if they are required to travel for radiotherapy. Health professionals who read the results of this study should be aware of the isolation of rural people who have to live in an unfamiliar environment at a time of great stress. Support mechanisms should be put into place in these referral centres to deal with these stressors.
- Rural people