Purpose/objectives: To describe and interpret the meaning of experiences that are important to the quality of living of ovarian germ cell cancer survivors.
Research approach: Qualitative description within a constructivist paradigm.
Setting: 32 member sites of the Gynecologic Oncology Group and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Participants: 109 women between the ages of 19-64 (median age = 36) who were enrolled on prospective clinical trials of cisplatin-based chemotherapy after surgery and disease-free for at least two years.
Methodologic approach: As part of a larger study, narrative responses to four semistructured questions were collected at the end of a telephone interview. Using naturalistic inquiry and qualitative description techniques, content labels were assigned to units of text that seemed to encapsulate one complete thought or idea. The labeled groups were collapsed into interpreted subthemes. Finally, four general themes were constructed as representations of shared narrative responses and meanings.
Findings: The four constructed themes are celebrating illness, experiencing empathetic affirmation, mourning losses, and valuing illness.
Interpretation: In addition to measuring physical, psychological, and sexual functioning in women surviving ovarian germ cell cancer, nurses also must understand how these issues fit into their everyday lived experiences. The four themes may help clinicians and researchers to understand issues that are important to the quality of living of ovarian germ cell cancer survivors.