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Going the distance—Experiences of women with gynaecological cancer residing in rural remote north Queensland

Authors

  • Adele E Baldwin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
      Adele E Baldwin, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia. Email: adele.baldwin@jcu.edu.au
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  • Kim Usher

    1. Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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Adele E Baldwin, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia. Email: adele.baldwin@jcu.edu.au

Abstract

Women who are diagnosed with gynaecological cancer face a difficult journey. For women residing in areas geographically removed from major health providers the journey can be much more difficult. While they ‘make do’ and ‘struggle on’, their lived experiences can provide valuable insight into the complex issues surrounding a cancer diagnosis in rural areas. This study aimed to understand their experiences through the women's stories and sought to identify the major themes impacting on these stories. This qualitative phenomenological study undertook interviews with seven women with gynaecological cancer who reside in rural and remote north Queensland. Analysis of the data collected revealed three themes: seeking answers at a distance; sharing information within a small community; and experiences of navigating the health system. The results show the inherent difficulties in accessing support in rural areas and the difficulties associated with travelling considerable distances to undergo treatment.

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