Young peoples' journeys with cancer and the factors that influence their experiences

Prof Doc Thesis

Weiner, Ben 2013. Young peoples' journeys with cancer and the factors that influence their experiences. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsWeiner, Ben
TypeProf Doc Thesis

There is a wealth of literature exploring the experiences of children (aged 13 and below) with cancer but little focusing on young people aged between this and adulthood (i.e. 18 and above). A diagnosis of cancer during this time may add to the stressors associated with a ‘normal’ transition to adulthood. It may also impact on their relationships, quality of life and psychological wellbeing, amongst other components of their lives. In addition, there is limited research exploring factors that young people find helpful during their journey with cancer.
This study therefore aimed to investigate young people’s experiences of their journeys with cancer and factors that had influenced these. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten participants who had taken part in a narrative therapy intervention at a London hospital. Participants comprised 5 males and 5 females with cancer, aged 13 to 21. The sample was also heterogeneous in terms of diagnosis and time since diagnosis. Interviews were analysed using a critical realist thematic analysis.
Three themes were identified: ‘it’s been up and down’, ‘I’ll get through this’ and ‘impact on the wider system’. They highlight the variety of experiences young people had had and the importance of the contexts in which these took place. They also illustrate the importance of personal support networks, professional support and personal coping strategies that young people found helpful. Finally they highlight the impact of cancer on others.
The findings suggest that it is important for clinicians to remain curious when working with young people with cancer and to listen out for times when they are able to be positive and talk about their positive experiences. They also highlight the importance of the ways in which staff communicate and suggest that an emphasis needs to be placed on differentiating between services for children and young people.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Jan 2014
Publisher's version
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