Credentials of Corresponding Author
Stacey M. Meyers, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC
This study explored the lived experiences of women diagnosed with stage II or greater gynecological cancer, including personal perceptions of quality of life, cancer-related stigma, and the health-illness transition.
Background and significance
Women diagnosed with late stage gynecological cancer encounter unique physical and psychosocial stressors. The existing body of literature identifies individual stressors or symptoms, quantifies symptom experiences, or focuses on one type of gynecological cancer. There was an exclusion of the holistic perspective of the gynecological cancer patient experience in previous studies, including the acknowledgement of shared experiences across gynecological cancer types.
Meleis’ transitions theory and Roy’s adaptation model informed conceptualization of the study.
Ten women diagnosed with stage II or greater gynecological cancer were interviewed. An interpretive phenomenological approach and Saldana’s (2013) processes of coding were used to guide data analysis.
Five themes and 12 subthemes included, The Existential Experience of Time, Awareness of Loss, Navigating New Waters, Sustaining Faith, and Moving Forward.
This research promotes understanding of the personal perception and impact of a gynecological cancer diagnosis, including adaptation to the environmental stressor of cancer, discovering meaning in the experience, and its effect on survivorship. The unique physical and psychosocial symptoms these women experience are intertwined and influence patients’ perception of time and quality of life. Communication by the health care provider was highlighted as a vital component to the patient’s cancer journey and established the critical impact the nurse’s relationship with the patient can have on this process. Implications for practice include improving knowledge of the physical and emotional changes these women experience, in addition to recognizing the losses women encounter and the modes of adaptation utilized throughout the cancer journey.
The Lived Experiences of Women Diagnosed with Stage II or Greater Gynecological Cancer