SYMPOSIUM
Wednesday, 19 July 2006: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
International Perspectives on the Individual Cancer Experience
Learning Objective #1: Apply information from cancer patient experiences to nursing practice, education, administration and future research in this field.
Learning Objective #2: Describe the potential influences of cancer patient experiential findings on regional, national and international health policy.
Background: Cancer has been recognized as the second most frequent cause of death in the United States and Switzerland. Although cancer etiology, screening and treatment continue to be investigated in depth, specific aspects of patientsí experiences with cancer diagnosis and treatment have not been fully elicited. Research gaps include patientsí experiences with specific diagnoses such as colorectal cancer which have not been fully described. Further, patientsí disease experiences in the context of differing health care financing environments have been under-examined. Finally, minority patientsí experiences and perspectives related to cancer have not been fully detailed. Proposed: In this symposium, two qualitative studies conducted in the United States and once in Switzerland will be presented. These studies focus on aspects of the cancer experience which have not been previously explored. The first study drew on Heideggerís ontology of Dasein and was conducted with colorectal cancer patients. The second study employed an hermeneutical-phenomenological approach to explore breast cancer issues related to managed care. The third study used mixed methods to investigate cultural beliefs and attitudes of African American men with prostate cancer. Results: The findings revealed that health care professionals may not fully comprehend the impact of a cancer diagnosis on various aspects of a patientís life or his/her family. Health care professionals may not realize which decisions patients wish to be involved with. They may also overlook issues such as culture and spirituality which can affect patientsí view of both the cancer and treatment decision-making. Across the studies presented, patients identified the need to be able to discuss their experiences freely with healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals should find ways to support patients in their decision making processes in addition to promoting development of institutional structures or policies to support aspects of cancer care and treatment decision making which patients have identified as important.
Organizer:Jennifer A. Wenzel, PhD, RN, CCM
 Understanding the Experience of Colorectal Cancer
Maya Shaha, PhD, MSc, RN
 Experiencing Breast Cancer Treatment Decision-making in Managed Care
Jennifer A. Wenzel, PhD, RN, CCM
 African American Prostate Cancer Survivors' Cultural Beliefs and Attitudes
Randy A. Jones, PhD, RN