Objective: The death of a loved one is one of the most stressful events in life and is related to the physical and psychological wellbeing of the bereaved. Some bereaved individuals seek medical counseling to alleviate their distress. However, no studies have focused on the bereaved who have lost a loved one to cancer and have asked for medical help at a cancer center as a result. The aim of this study was to investigate the distress of the bereaved who sought consultation, as basic information for considering support. Methods: We conducted a survey of people consulting outpatient services for bereaved families between April 2007 and September 2009. Data were obtained from medical records at initial consultation and qualitatively analyzed by content analysis using all statements related to their distress. Results: Their statements were classified into 11 categories, which were further classified into six themes. The main categories of bereavement-related distress were as follows: (i) regret; (ii) anger; (iii) memories; (iv) loneliness; (v) anxiety; and (vi) hopelessness. 'Regret' was frequently recognized in their distress and it includes some points related to the cancer trajectory. Conclusions: Psychological distresses of the bereaved who have lost a loved one and have asked for medical counseling are revealed. Their distresses are strongly related to the cancer trajectory of a family member. Some of these distresses are related to medical misunderstanding about the course of cancer. These findings might provide basic information for considering their appropriate treatment.
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