Identity reconstruction among older cancer survivors: Age and meaning in the context of a life-altering illness

Susan M. Hannum, Katherine Clegg Smith, Kisha Coa, Ann C. Klassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article evaluates how older cancer patients describe cancer survivorship and incorporate the cancer experience into long-term evaluations of health. From a series of 53 qualitative interviews with adults with histories of breast and prostate cancers and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, we analyzed age-related discussions among those 65 and older (n = 21). Emergent themes revealed the: (1) historical conceptualization of cancer, (2) changed perspective following diagnosis, (3) cancer in the context of a long biography, (4) cancer in the context of the aging body and decline, and (5) meaning of time remaining and quality of life. One important suggestion from our work, relevant to all clinicians regardless of specialty or role, is to incorporate goals for the future into individualized survivor care plans for older survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-492
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • cancer
  • finitude
  • life course
  • older adults
  • qualitative research
  • survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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