Role of the body in cancer, sense-making and the search for meaning
evidence and practice    

Role of the body in cancer, sense-making and the search for meaning

Barry Quinn Senior Lecturer, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of the role of the body in making sense of cancer

  • To increase your awareness of what the body can teach nurses about the personal experience of illness

  • To understand how focusing on the role of the body can assist nurses to provide person-centred care

The body has a central role in illness and in nursing care. However, the body may be overlooked, both as a biological entity and in its less visible role in enabling people to make sense of illness. Guided by the works of Heidegger and Frankl, this article explores the findings of a previous study by the author, and reveals the important role of the body in making sense of cancer. Much has been written about the body in the literature, but this article focuses on how ‘sense-making’ is enacted through the body and what the body can teach us about the personal experience of illness.

The study participants were engaged in a sense-making process that led them to question their body and other aspects of themselves that they may have taken for granted. Through this process, the participants started to make sense of the changes they observed in their body, assisting them to understand their diagnosis. Paying attention to the role of the body may assist nurses to focus on providing person-centred care.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2020.e1703

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 BG (2020) Role of the body in cancer, sense-making and the search for meaning. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2020.e1703

Published online: 05 May 2020

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