Disrupted lives and threats to identity: the experiences of people with colorectal cancer within the first year following diagnosis

Gill Hubbard, Lisa Kidd, Nora Kearney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    55 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In this article we focus on the experiences of 18 people with colorectal cancer, involved in a large longitudinal qualitative study to explore people’s experiences of cancer within the first year following diagnosis. Three depth interviews over the course of the year were carried out. During analysis, we drew on biographically informed approaches of understanding chronic illness, particularly the work of Bury and Charmaz, to explore the extent to which people within the first year following diagnosis experience cancer as biographically disruptive. We explore the biographical work that individuals carry out in the context of an assault on their identity and discuss the relevance of the concept biographical disruption for people who experience cancer as an acute, chronic and/or life-threatening condition. We also discuss the concept’s relevance for people who have lived a hard life and, hence, may anticipate these types of disruptions in their lives and experience their impact differently. We conclude that universal application of the concept biographical disruption to the experience of cancer within the first year of diagnosis is not appropriate. This study has implications for cancer services, in particular, the findings call for the development of interventions to support those people who experience cancer as an assault on their identity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)131-146
    Number of pages16
    JournalHealth: an Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness & Medicine
    Volume14
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

    Keywords

    • Colorectal cancer
    • Biographical disruption
    • Identity

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