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Cancer in young people: a narrative study to explore their experience from first symptoms to the diagnosis of cancer (O.137) [Abstract]

Gibson, F., Pearce, S., Eden, T., Glaser, A., Hooker, L., Whelan, J. and Kelly, D. M. 2009. Cancer in young people: a narrative study to explore their experience from first symptoms to the diagnosis of cancer (O.137) [Abstract]. Presented at: 41st Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP 2009), Sao Paulo, Brazil, 5-9 October 2009. , vol. 5. Wiley, p. 751. 10.1002/pbc.22234

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Purpose:Prompt diagnosis, referral and treatment of cancer in young people can bedifficult because of the wide range of cancer subtypes and associated symptoms, all ofwhich together are uncommon. This is suspected to be a contributing factor for knownpoor outcomes in this age group. This study aimed to understand the pre-diagnosticand diagnostic phase of cancer in young people as reported by young peoplethemselves as near as possible to the time of diagnosis.Method:Twenty four young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who were betweentwo to four months from first diagnosis with a solid tumour were recruited to the studyfrom four centres. Narrative interviews were undertaken as well as a documentaryanalysis of the medical notes. Data were analysed to examine how these narrativeswere structured and connected to broader contextual issues concerning cancer and thisage group.Results:Shared themes within these narratives shaped an emerging conceptualframework that included the individual and the meaning of their symptoms; the impactof others in determining the identification of a threat in the symptoms; the negotiationof generalist health care and then entrance into specialist care. Through this processthree overarching narrative typologies were identified through which the manner inwhich symptoms/diagnosis impacted on identity and biography were revealed.Conclusion:The experience of the time from first symptoms to diagnosis is complex,multidimensional with many factors contributing to the process of attaining adiagnosis. A narrative of diagnostic delay was evident in some cases. The study hascreated a conceptual framework from which developments in practice, policy andresearch can be built upon. This paper will present both the method and findings withthe expressed aim of sharing with delegates young people’s accounts that shaped theirexperience of health care and defined their diagnostic period.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1545-5009
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2020 12:00

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