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Nurs Sci Q. 1990 Winter;3(4):162-9.

The lived experience of self-transcendence in women with advanced breast cancer.


The purpose of this exploratory study was to describe the lived-experience of self-transcendence in women with Stage IV breast cancer. A phenomenological approach was chosen for the research design and analysis. Five women who had lived with metastatic disease from 2 to 7 years described experiences from which they derived an increased sense of self-worth, purpose in life, and interconnectedness with others. The self-transcendent experiences involved an effort on the part of the participants to reach out beyond themselves to help other women, to permit others to help them, or to "just accept" unchangeable situations. The results indicated that participants found meaning in their lives in the face of life-threatening illness. Although nurses can not be expected to create self-transcendent experiences for their patients, they may be able to establish and maintain conditions in which the phenomenon occurs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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