Cervical cancer survivors: The experiences of the journey

Shiri Shinan-Altman, Inbar Levkovich, Yaira Hamama-Raz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Cervical cancer affects survivors' overall coping. Yet, specifically emotional and behavioral expression patterns among cervical cancer survivors have barely been examined. In addition, no study has focused on survivors' experiences of sequences related to coping. Understanding these perceptions can help provide a tailored response and improve psycho-social interventions. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the emotional and behavioral motives involved in coping with cervical cancer recovery. METHODS: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 survivors of cervical cancer (stages I and II), using a semi-structured in-depth questionnaire. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by three researchers using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Six main themes emerged: (i) Reasons and benefits for keeping the disease a secret or sharing it with others; (ii) "When you get used to despair, there's also room for hope": Despair alongside hope; (iii) Self-guilt following the disease, but also knowing how to forgive yourself; (iv) Deep loneliness alongside a significant need for support; (v) Finding the way from passivity to activity; and (vi) When meaning in life is missing, and the importance of meaning when it is present. There was a balance between negative emotions and behaviors (despair, confidentiality, guilt, loneliness, passivity, lack of meaning) and positive emotions and behaviors (hope, openness, forgiveness, significant support, activity, meaning). SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESULTS: The study revealed that in some cases cervical cancer coping during the recovery period moves across sequences. The women's narratives portray past difficulties as the reason for present psychological health, and their experience of a healthy present is intensified by their past difficulties. Implications for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-570
Number of pages8
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Behavioral coping
  • Cervical cancer
  • Emotional coping
  • Survivors

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