The lived experiences of adolescents with cancer
MetadataShow full item record
People often do not want to hear, talk or read about cancer. Cancer is arguably one of the most feared illnesses and maybe rightly so for it is usually associated with pain, fear,uncertainty, anxiety, long uncomfortable treatments and death. To receive a diagnosis of cancer must be absolutely devastating especially when you are in a developmental stage where you are already battling with issues such as self-esteem, body image, independence and career choices. The current study explored the lived experiences of adolescents who have or had cancer and how this experience impacted on their lives. Six adolescent cancer patients from the cancer unit in a public hospital were interviewed. The sample was purposively drawn and the majority of the interviews were conducted at the homes of the participants. Phenomenology was used both as a theoretical framework as well as a means of analysing data. Using the descriptive phenomenological method employed by Giorgi,four essential themes emerged from the data. The themes included (1) Unexpected change of everyday life means experiencing the unfamiliar (2) Experiencing a changed body, (3) Experiencing the support of significant others and (4) Anticipating a future. The themes were explained in terms of the four existentials of Van Manen which is lived space, lived body, lived other and lived time. The study revealed that although the initial diagnosis of cancer came as a shock to the participants and their families, they were able to deal with the inevitable changes that accompanied the diagnosis mainly as a result of the support they received from family and friends. Their initial fear of death were replaced with an ardent pursue of their dreams for the future.