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    “I know I’m not invincible”: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of thyroid cancer in young people

    Smith, S. and Eatough, Virginia and Smith, J. and Radu, M. and Weaver, A. and Sadler, G. (2018) “I know I’m not invincible”: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of thyroid cancer in young people. British Journal of Health Psychology 23 (2), pp. 352-370. ISSN 1359-107X.

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    Abstract

    Objective: Thyroid cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting young people and carries an excellent prognosis. Little is known about the psychosocial issues that face young people diagnosed with a treatable cancer. This study explored how young people experienced diagnosis, treatment, and how they made sense of an experience which challenged their views on what it means to have cancer. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight young people diagnosed with either papillary or follicular thyroid cancer, and analysed with interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: Two inter-related aspects of their experience are discussed: (1) The range of feelings and emotions experienced including feeling disregarded, vulnerability, shock and isolation. (2) How they made sense of, and ascribed meaning to their experience in light of the unique nature of their cancer. A thread running throughout the findings highlights that this was a disruptive biographical experience. Conclusions: Young people experienced a loss of youthful immunity which contrasted with a sense of growth and shift in life perspective. Having a highly treatable cancer was helpful in aiding them to reframe their situation positively but at the same time left them feeling dismissed over a lack of recognition that they had cancer. The young peoples’ experiences point to a need for increased understanding of this rare cancer, more effective communication from healthcare professionals and a greater understanding of the experiential impact of this disease on young people. Suggestions to improve the service provision to this patient group are provided.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Virginia Eatough
    Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2017 18:10
    Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 04:05
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/20707

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