Cancer survivorship: evolutionary concept analysis


N. Doyle: e-mail:


Title. Cancer survivorship: evolutionary concept analysis

Aim.  This paper is a report of a concept analysis of cancer survivorship in adults.

Background.  The concept of cancer survivorship appears frequently in cross-discipline literature but does not seem to have any precise definition or meaning. Substantive research into the experience of surviving cancer is long overdue. However, if a concept has not been clearly defined any theoretical work based on that concept will also be unclear.

Data sources.  The analysis was based on literature published in English between 1994 and 2006 (= 43) and seminal work in the field.

Review methods.  Rodgers’ method of evolutionary concept analysis was used, allowing the concept to be viewed within a sociocultural and temporal context and capturing both lay and emic perspectives.

Results.  Cancer survivorship in adults is a process beginning at diagnosis and involving uncertainty. It is a life-changing experience with a duality of positive and negative aspects, and is unique to the individual but has some universality. The primary antecedent is a cancer diagnosis and the consequences can be divided into four main themes: physical health, psychological health, social health and spiritual health.

Conclusion.  Surviving cancer is now an established reality for millions of people worldwide. Nurses can benefit from a deeper understanding of the patient experience, both theoretically and in practice. Clarification of a concept provides a heuristic for further inquiry and a basis for theory generation.