Uncovering the Transformational Experience of Cancer Victors

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Renante Dante Tan, MAN, RN
Gloria G. Yang, EdD, RN


Introduction. Incidence of cancer morbidity and mortality in the Philippines continues to escalate despite the survival rate that much still need to be desired. Few were able to cross the bridge. Still the social processes surrounding cancer survivors’ experiences has not been given much attention.

Method. A Grounded Theory was the design selected using in-depth, unstructured interview among ten (10) participants who were considered as cancer survivors. Purposive, snowball and theoretical sampling were used to recruit participants. Interviews were audiotaped or recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was guided by Creswell’s four major phases; open coding, axial coding, selective coding and visual portraying. Memoing, field notes, member checking, audit trail and validation were all integrated with the study to enhance trustworthiness of study findings.

Result. Based from the participants’ story, the primary psychosocial process that emerged can be described as “transformational journey”. This core variable explains the complexity of the journey in the life of a cancer survivor. The researchers identified six (6) iterative phases namely: (1) seeking answers; (2) encountering burden; (3) will to survive; (4) exhausting measures to live; (5) becoming a victor and (6) transitioning.

Conclusion. The findings from this study elucidates that cancer patients who become victorious after battling the disease traverses a transformational journey that defies and changes their perspective at what life is. Healthcare provider should develop protocol on how to support and to assist patient as they battle through the challenges in the different stages of their journey.