Future disorientation following gynaecological cancer: women's conceptualisation of risk after a life threatening illness

Karen Roberts, Charlotte Clarke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the experience of a gynaecological cancer diagnosis on women and their family in the year following treatment. The psychological and social consequences of gynaecological cancer and treatment have received little attention in research or practice until recently. Cancer service developments, however, are increasingly looking towards nurses to address the psychosocial needs of patients and families without necessarily having sufficient knowledge of what those needs are. This Grounded Theory study used symbolic interactionism as an interpretive framework. Twenty women were interviewed who were at least 12 months post-surgical treatment for gynaecological cancer. The analysis highlighted the degree of biographical disruption that occurs following illness that can affect both women and partners and a theory of future disorientation was developed. This study advances a conceptualisation of the chronicity of gynaecological cancer survivorship in relation to the challenge of living with the risk of the cancer returning, and how women's approaches to managing that risk affect their perception of the future. Cancer services within primary care must develop skilled professionals and interventions to provide appropriate and timely support for patients following cancer treatment, so that the successful outcome of a cure is not clouded by women having to live for many years with the fear of cancer recurrence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-366
    JournalHealth, Risk & Society
    Volume11
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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