The incidence of oral cancer has rapidly increased in Taiwan. Oral cancer and its surgical treatment may also cause physical and psychological problems for patients. During the postoperative period, patients face adjustments in their disease, treatment and lives. However, research on these relevant issues is scant. A qualitative study was conducted with the purpose of exploring the life experiences of surgically treated Taiwanese oral cancer patients during the postoperative period. Thirteen patients with oral cancer were recruited from the otolaryngology head and neck surgery wards of a medical centre in northern Taiwan. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and tape recorded after informed consent had been obtained. Data were analysed using the content analysis method. Results show that the life experiences of the patients with oral cancer were related to the impact of threatening symptoms, concerns about survival, restriction of interpersonal relationships, self-restructuring and constructing a support network. The results of this study can provide healthcare professionals with a reference for implementing care plans to address the unique needs of patients with oral cancer.
© 2011 The Author. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences © 2011 Nordic College of Caring Science.