Objective: To explore the lived experiences and social benefits among patients with operable Non-small-cell lung cancer who participated in an exercise intervention.
Methods: Eighteen patients enrolled in an exercise intervention at 2 weeks post-surgery participated in qualitative interviews at three time points. A phenomenological hermeneutical approach comprised the epistemological stance inspired by Ricoeur's philosophy. Analysis and interpretation provided descriptions that captured the meaning of the patients' lived experiences.
Results: The exercise intervention was significant in terms of the patients' social capital, and the patients experienced themselves as part of a community. Patients gained access to resources that derived from human interaction in the exercise group, and their illness and treatment became easier to manage when shared with others in the same situation. The intervention helped to create a community for patients after lung cancer surgery, and the patients experienced a feeling of belonging and equality with the other participants.
Conclusion: The group-based exercise intervention created opportunities for mutual understanding between patients, making illness and treatment easier to manage. The patients experienced support to reformulate their identity during the exercise intervention in their interaction with peers in the group.
Keywords: NSCLC; exercise; patient experiences; peers; qualitative study; social support; surgery.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.