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‘The missing discourse’: how does the family history of cancer affect the care needs of palliative care patients?

Lillie, Alison Kate (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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There is increasing scientific understanding and growing public awareness of the influence of genetics on the development of cancer. It is known that up to ten percent of cancers are associated with a genetic predisposition. This study asks ‘How does the family history of cancer affect the care needs of palliative care patients?’ in this context. This question is addressed using the principles of phenomenology to explore the meaning of a family history of cancer for palliative care patients and nurses. Data was collected through recorded, semi-structured interviews with purposively sampled participants. The information obtained was analyzed using Miles and Huberman’s (1994) framework, where data is displayed, reduced, and conclusions drawn. Emergent themes were organized around Van Manen’s (1990) schema for existential reflection, which considers the relationship between phenomena and four universal themes: lived-body, lived-relationship, lived-time and lived-space. Findings describe how the physical, social, emotional and cultural dimensions of care are modified when viewed through the genetic lens. Patients’ poor understanding of cancer and novice nursing practice (Benner 1984) were barriers to appropriately meeting the needs of this patient group. A new approach to the care of palliative patients with a family history of cancer is proposed.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Clifford, Collette
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
Department:School of Health Sciences
Subjects:R Medicine (General)
RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:293
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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