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 Table of Contents  
PERSPECTIVE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 240-241

Précis for living in limbo and speaking legibly: Reporting qualitative description of oral tongue cancer experience


School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Date of Submission10-Dec-2014
Date of Acceptance08-Apr-2015
Date of Web Publication30-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Sarah H Kagan
School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
USA
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Source of Support: The Edwin and Fannie Hall Gray Center for Human Appearance at the University of Pennsylvania Small Grants Program., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2347-5625.158022

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How to cite this article:
Kagan SH. Précis for living in limbo and speaking legibly: Reporting qualitative description of oral tongue cancer experience. Asia Pac J Oncol Nurs 2015;2:240-1

How to cite this URL:
Kagan SH. Précis for living in limbo and speaking legibly: Reporting qualitative description of oral tongue cancer experience. Asia Pac J Oncol Nurs [serial online] 2015 [cited 2016 Sep 26];2:240-1. Available from: http://www.apjon.org/text.asp?2015/2/4/240/158022




Sarah H. Kagan is a gerontological nurse. She holds the Lucy Walker Honorary Term Chair as Professor of Gerontological Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and practices in the Living Well Geriatric Oncology Program at Pennsylvania Hospital. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahHKagan and look for her myths of aging column at http://www.mysuncoast.com/health/kagan/.



Oral tongue cancer is a diagnosis that, while less common than many solid tumors, reminds us as oncology nurses how critical it is to understand patient experience in order to improve practice. As with many cancers that are less common, the literature addressing patient experience in this diagnosis is limited in several dimensions. As the quantitative evidence expands, demands to improve clinical practice underscore the imperative of qualitative questions describing and interpreting patient experience, meaning, and journey. [1],[2],[3] My colleagues and I embarked on an exploration of oral tongue cancer experience with an aim of developing a grounded theory to explicate the psychological and social processes from diagnosis through treatment and on into survivorship. [4] Our participants shared with us data so rich we were initially overwhelmed.

On reading our first interview transcripts, my project manager Genevieve Philiponis, and I realized that we could - through analysis of the first-hand knowledge our participants imparted in their interviews - describe some of the invisible elements of this cancer experience. We aimed, through qualitative descriptive methods, to address gaps in the clinical literature and thus better enable clinicians to reflect on their approach to patients being treated for tongue cancer. [5] Imagine being told that the seemingly innocuous lesion on your tongue is probably cancer and having to undergo more than one biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. Consider being unable to speak - even though your surgeon says that it is only temporary - as you contemplate continuing to be treated for your tongue cancer with adjuvant radiotherapy, while you worry about family, work, and other responsibilities.

Our participants spoke eloquently of diagnosis and treatment and the effects on daily life. Diagnosis and speech stood out as important dimensions, warranting rigorous description. We were then impelled to conduct partial descriptive analyzes of our grounded theory interview data set in an inductive qualitative descriptive tradition using the constant comparative analysis technique from grounded theory. [4],[6],[7],[8],[9] The results are a pair of papers linked by similar aims and the same methods, set within the context of our main grounded theory study and describing "living in limbo" and "speaking legibly" as part of the overall experience of oral tongue cancer.

 
  References Top

1.
Röing M, Hirsch JM, Holmström I, Schuster M. Making new meanings of being in the world after treatment for oral cancer. Qual Health Res 2009;19:1076-86.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Cousins N, MacAulay F, Lang H, MacGillivray S, Wells M. A systematic review of interventions for eating and drinking problems following treatment for head and neck cancer suggests a need to look beyond swallowing and trismus. Oral Oncol 2013;49:387-400.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Schuster M, Stelzle F. Outcome measurements after oral cancer treatment: Speech and speech-related aspects - an overview. Oral Maxillofac Surg 2012;16:291-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Corbin J, Strauss A. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. London Sage Publications; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Kearney MH. Levels and applications of qualitative research evidence. Res Nurs Health 2001;24:145-53.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Boeije H. A purposeful approach to the constant comparative method in the analysis of qualitative interviews. Qual Quant 2002;36:391-409.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Fram SM. The constant comparative analysis method outside of grounded theory. Qual Rep 2013;18:1.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Glaser BG. The constant comparative method of qualitative analysis. Soc Probl 1965;12:436-45.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Elo S, Kyngäs H. The qualitative content analysis process. J Adv Nurs 2008;62:107-15.  Back to cited text no. 9
    




 

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