Oral Presentation FCIC Survivorship Conference 2013

Creating meaning: the experiences of young adult cancer survivors (#6)

Danielle Tindle 1
  1. Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Cancer in the adolescent and young adult (AYA) population is uncommon; however a diagnosis at this age may significantly impact a young person’s life experiences during and after treatment. Over the past few decades, improvements have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of common AYA cancers resulting in an increase in the number of young people surviving their diseases. However, little is known about the ongoing effects of cancer and treatment on a young person’s life beyond the initial treatment phase. To address some critical gaps in knowledge about this growing population, this qualitative study aims to understand the phenomenon of cancer survivorship as experienced in the everyday life worlds of young adults who were diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 29 years, and are at least two years post treatment. It does so by hermeneutically exploring the cultural, temporal and social contexts that frame young survivors’ experiences.

The research focuses on three countries: Australia, England and America, in order to capture a wide variety of perspectives from different healthcare and cultural settings. A sample of 45 participants will be interviewed (15 from each country). This presentation will discuss some of the preliminary findings from data collected in Australia and England. Specifically, it explores the temporal perspectives of young cancer survivors in a state of uncertainty about the future. When cancer threatens the horizon of the possible, time orientation is revised and this significantly influences how young people create meaning in life.