Navigating severe chronic cancer-related fatigue: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Tom I. Bootsma, Melanie P. J. Schellekens, Rosalie A. M. van Woezik, Marije L. van der Lee, Jenny Slatman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This article presents a phenomenological study on the embodied experiences of patients with Chronic Cancer-Related Fatigue (CCRF), aiming to better understand this complex phenomenon. Design: Data collection consisted of individual interviews with 25 participants who suffered from severe CCRF for at least three months after cancer treatment was finished. Main outcome measures: Against the theoretical background of philosophical phenomenology, we explored embodied experiences, incorporated temporal and spatial aspects of living with CCRF. We applied interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to analyze the transcripts of the interviews. Results: Using IPA, we identified four themes on how chronic fatigue is experienced post-cancer: (1) Worn out; (2) Diminishment of one’s ‘I can’; (3) Invisibility; and (4) Regaining one’s ‘I can’. Conclusion: For clinical practice, these results imply that professionals could focus more on the role of the body and limitations of one’s ‘I can’ when treating CCRF. By studying these embodied CCRF experiences in individual patients, future research could help personalize and optimize treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalPsychology & Health
Early online date27 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • BREAST
  • DISEASE
  • EXPERIENCE
  • FOLLOW-UP
  • HEALTH-CARE
  • ILLNESS
  • INTERVENTIONS
  • QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
  • SURVIVORS

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