An interpretive phenomenological analysis of hope in cancer patients: A qualitative study

Indian J Cancer. 2021 Jul 16. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_33_20. Online ahead of print.


Background: In positive psychology, increased recognition of the phenomenon of hope among people suffering from cancer, along with alleviating their negative mental states like anxiety, depression, and fear of death is evident and promising. The aim of the study was to explore the lived experience of hope in cancer patients.

Materials: Qualitative phenomenological research approach was used. A semi-structured in-depth interview with open-ended questions was administered to explore the patient's hope related experiences during the journey of cancer. A purposive sampling technique was used to select a total of 10 participants for the study. The size of the sample was decided on the basis of literature for the interpretive phenomenological study.

Results: Results revealed five major common themes related to hope during illness: (1) survival expectation; (2) will to live; (3) prognostic clarification; (4) positivity of health providers; and (5) recovery of other patients: A source of hopefulness.

Conclusion: The lived experiences of cancer patients shows that hope is the positive expectation of survival, which is a source of motivation during their journey of illness. It also denotes goal setting behaviour. Thus, hope is the "will to live" which is related to social support, positive communication with healthcare providers, and recovery of fellow patients.

Keywords: Cancer patients; hope; interpretive phenomenological analysis; phenomenology.