Background: Cancer in children in Tanzania is a concerning health issue, yet there is a shortage of information about the experiences of the guardians of children who receive cancer treatment. Objective: To explore concerns and needs of support among guardians of children on cancer treatment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Method: Using a qualitative design, 3 focus group discussions were held with 22 guardians of children aged 9 to 17 years. Guardians were recruited from Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam, where their children were receiving cancer treatment. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
Results: Guardians experienced several issues during the initial stages of their child's cancer treatment, including the process of seeking a diagnosis, and experiences with care at the peripheral (regional) hospitals and national hospital. They also shared what they felt would lessen their difficult experiences. Seven themes emerged in this study: financial concerns, emotional concerns, barriers to cancer care, need for improved cancer care, need for information, need for tangible support, and gratitude and hope.
Conclusion: Guardians of children with cancer experience challenges during initial stages when seeking a diagnosis and have concerns and needs related to cancer care and treatment. Implications for practice: Improvements are needed regarding care at regional hospitals, the cancer diagnosis, and the recognition of early signs of cancer and quick referral to diagnostic centers, compassionate caring behaviors by healthcare workers, budgetary support from the government to meet the medication supply demands, and meeting stakeholders' support needs.