Homeworld/Alienworld: a qualitative study about existential experiences after cancer treatment
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionUeland, V., Dysvik, E., Rørtveit, K., Furnes, B. (2020) Homeworld/Alienworld: a qualitative study about existential experiences after cancer treatment. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences. doi: 10.1111/scs.12902 10.1111/scs.12902
Background As a group, cancer survivors experience significant vulnerability and existential challenges. The biomedical approach dominating health care is insufficient to meet such existential challenges in an individualistic, holistic way. Objective This study aimed to explore the existential experiences of those treated for different cancers. Methods An exploratory phenomenological–hermeneutical design was used to obtain an understanding of existential experiences after cancer treatment. Data were collected through in‐depth interviews with 21 individuals who represented a purposive sample and were recruited from a cancer organisation. Results Three overriding themes emerged from the phenomenological–hermeneutical analysis are as follows: Experiencing an unfamiliar tiredness; Experiencing not being fully oneself; and Experiencing a feeling of being alone. Conclusions Existential suffering after cancer treatment involves living on the edge of the old homeworld and the experience of a new alienworld. Individuals undergoing such suffering need a transformational process, from the alienworld to the homeworld, which must be supported by the healthcare system.