Exploring important relationships in the search for meaning in people living with cancer: part 2
evidence and practice    

Exploring important relationships in the search for meaning in people living with cancer: part 2

Barry Quinn Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To improve your understanding of the personal meaning of living with cancer beyond the medical focus on disease

  • To recognise that the process of making sense of life for some people living with cancer may be guided by their relationship with those who have died, God or a higher being

  • To be aware of the role of spiritual beliefs and practice in the illness experience

This is the second of two articles presenting findings from a wider study that aimed to explore and better understand the personal story of cancer beyond the label of ‘patient’ and the healthcare context. Part 1 focused on the importance of relationships with other people with cancer, family members and the healthcare team in the search to make sense of life.

This article focuses on the importance of relationships with people who have died, with God or a higher being, and the self in the search to make sense of life. Using an interpretative phenomenological approach, data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with 15 people living with cancer. It was identified that the ability to relate to those who have died, with God or a higher being, and the self was an important component of the sense-making process. For some participants, important relationships continued to exist with people who had died, which provided support and consolation. Their relationship with God or a higher being guided many participants in their sense-making process. Several participants also reported that their relationship with themselves evolved and was redefined through their illness experience. Understanding the importance of these relationships may reveal some of the less visible components of the illness experience. These findings may support the provision of an increasingly person-centred approach to care.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2020.e1722

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

barry.quinn@qub.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Quinn B (2020) Exploring important relationships in the search for meaning in people living with cancer: part 2. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2020.e1722

Published online: 01 September 2020

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