A new normal: reconciling change in appearance and function for men with head and neck cancer
Caroline Rennie Macmillan nurse consultant, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Kilmarnock, Scotland
Kathleen M Stoddart Senior lecturer/clinical doctorate programme director, Faculty of Health Science and Sport, University of Stirling, Scotland
Gill Hubbard Reader, Faculty of Health Science and Sport, University of Stirling, Scotland
Aim The aim of this study was to explore how men with head and neck cancer (HNC) experience appearance and functional change following diagnosis.
Method Grounded theory methodology was chosen and 12 retrospective semi-structured interviews were undertaken with men who were 12 to 24 months post-diagnosis.
Findings Three interrelated categories emerged from the data: normalising change, ‘being under siege’; getting through treatment and reclaiming self. The core category was reconciling change: a new normal that reflects the social and psychological processes involved in accommodating and assimilating change in appearance and function for men with HNC.
Conclusion The substantive theory provides insight into how men with HNC prioritise function and actively distance themselves from concerns about appearance. Furthermore, it identifies that men may be at risk of social anxiety and isolation where there are multiple changes or body incompetence and these findings should inform clinical practice and care provision.
Cancer Nursing Practice.
Rennie C, Stoddart K, Hubbard G (2018) A new normal: reconciling change in appearance and function for men with head and neck cancer. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2018.e1449
This article has been subject to external double-blind review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Conflict of interest
Published online: 26 April 2018
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