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Psychooncology. 2010 Aug;19(8):863-9. doi: 10.1002/pon.1632.

Experiencing one's body after a diagnosis of cancer--a phenomenological study of young adults.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. christina.snobohm@karolinska.se


Young adults with cancer are still in the process of shaping their lives and are therefore at a vulnerable stage. Altered body image may change how patients cope with the disease and impact rehabilitation capacity.


To describe the essence of how young adults with cancer experience their bodies.Methods: Interviews (12 informants), transcribed verbatim.


Giorgi's phenomenological method.


Identified themes: experience of 'physical body change', 'discomfort', 'the body at the moment without reflecting on the disease and treatment', 'body image' and 'grasping the illness'. Essences: The body as the bearer of life; conflict between age and disease; manifest changes in appearance, physically and mentally; the body no longer a whole; the body as influenceable and able to recover and heal.


These patients undergo physical and mental changes that affect their self-image and health-related life quality. Thus, future studies need to explore interventions that may enhance the individual perception of their body.

(c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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