• Hope is considered to be of great significance for people diagnosed as having cancer, and is thus an important aspect of nursing care. It is therefore of value to document ways in which hope can be strengthened in these patients.
• An intervention programme based on Nowotny's (1986) definition of hope and designed to increase hope in groups of cancer patients with the nurse as the group leader was developed.
• The intervention was divided into eight sessions, each of which focused on a different aspect of hope. These included: belief in oneself and one's own ability, emotional reactions, relationships with others, active involvement, spiritual beliefs and values, and acknowledging that there is a future.
• By focusing on these aspects through interactional processes in the group, it was thought that the participants' hope could be strengthened.