Background: Personal narratives shared through social media are an area of rapid development in communication among breast cancer survivors. 1 Many are turning to blogs (internet weblogs) to tell their stories. These blog narratives provide a framework for a richer understanding of the lived experience of cancer survivorship.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to propose a new framework for understanding the issues faced by breast cancer survivors after treatment and to explore how they integrate the cancer experience into their lives over the long term.
Methods: (1) a qualitative analysis of the overarching themes of 25 blogs written by breast cancer survivors at various stages of the survivorship trajectory and (2) a literature review were undertaken.
Results: While an analysis of blog narratives convey common themes related to physical, psychosocial and emotional issues, the uniqueness of each blog demonstrated that the survival trajectory is a dynamic concept, the challenges of which can vary at different life stages and times. This study extends previous findings that cancer is not just a single event with a defined end, but an evolutionary journey with short and long-term challenges.2 A cancer diagnosis initiates a survival trajectory that extends over the remainder of life, regardless of life expectancy. 3
Conclusions: If healthcare professionals are to adequately prepare patients for the transition to survivorship, they must have a deeper understanding of the survivorship experience. Cancer survivors' own narratives open up the lived experience of survivorship, providing a rich framework for examining the effects of cancer at various life stages throughout the remainder of a person's life. Furthermore, the narratives have the potential to inform interventions for psycho-social support to aid survivors in their adjustment to life after cancer. Future research with a larger and more diverse sample of cancer survivors is recommended.