Oral Presentation FCIC Survivorship Conference 2013

Beyond statistics - how personal narratives shared through blogging provides a new framework for a richer understanding of cancer survivorship (#29)

Marie Ennis-O'Connor 1
  1. Europa Donna Ireland, Dundrum, Dub, Ireland
A cancer diagnosis is not just a single event with a defined beginning and end, but rather a diagnosis initiates a survival trajectory characterized by on-going uncertainty, potentially delayed or late effects of the disease or treatment, and concurrent psychosocial issues that extends over the remainder of a person’s life. Improvements in the early detection and treatment of cancer have increased the periods of survival following a breast cancer diagnosis. However, statistics give no indication of the quality of life experienced in the months and years that follow the end of treatment. Amongst emerging research on the physical and psychosocial aspects of cancer survivorship, some questions still need to be answered. For instance, how does a person transition to survivorship and integrate the cancer experience into their lives over the long term? And what support structures are needed to facilitate this process of integration? If healthcare providers are to adequately prepare patients for cancer survivorship and assist them in their recovery, then they must achieve a deeper understanding of what surviving cancer is like.  Personal narratives shared through social media are an area of rapid development in communication among breast cancer survivors. Many are turning to blogs to tell their stories. These blog narratives provide a framework for a richer understanding of the lived experience of cancer survivorship and a means of exploring how they integrate the cancer experience into their lives over the long term.