It’s been a life-changing experience!” A qualitative study of young adult cancer survivors’ experiences of the coexistence of negative and positive outcomes after cancer treatment
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The aim of this study was to illuminate the coexistence of negative and positive experiences of young adult cancer survivors after cancer treatment. Using an interpretive descriptive design, 20 young adult cancer survivors were interviewed. The participants stated that the cancer was a life‐changing experience followed by both negative and positive outcomes. The range of negative outcomes was identified in the main theme “the cancer still hampers me,” subdivided into three subthemes “impaired function and changed body,” “intrusion of thoughts and feelings” and “negative impact on relationships.” Simultaneously, the informants experienced positive outcomes identified in the main theme “I have acknowledged what's important in life,” where “a changed perspective,” “personal growth” and “the significance of close relationships” were important facets. The findings indicate that young adult cancer survivors need close and sustained follow up with screening and tailored interventions to minimize negative physical, emotional and social outcomes. In addition, actions that promote positive outcomes such as increasing social support, prioritizing close relationships and facilitating positive changes in values and life goals should be fostered during the entire cancer trajectory.