The possibility of impossibility: The hope for a cure among terminally ill cancer patients in China

Xin Zhang, Bei Ju, Jiong Tu, Bo Wang, Xuan Liu, Zhechen Wang, Yu Cheng, Changhua Zhang, Yulong He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Although the medical potential of the hope for a cure has been fiercely debated within academia, few researchers have approached this topic from the perspective of terminally ill cancer patients themselves. As such, this article aims to help bridge the gap by exploring how terminally ill cancer patients in China construct the hope for a cure. Methods: Seventeen terminally ill cancer patients were recruited from the department of oncology at a tertiary hospital, where data were collected through individual interviews and participatory observation from April to December 2020 and analysed via thematic analysis. Results: The respondents experienced a dynamic swing between construction and denial of the hope for a cure. Furthermore, the patients negotiated between three forms of hope, including the hope for a cure, the hope for prolonged life expectancy and the hope of living in the moment. Meanwhile, family-oriented hope was centred on intergenerational relationships, which further shaped the construction of the hope for a cure. Conclusion: Medical staff needs to be sensitive to terminally ill cancer patients' dynamic swing, negotiation and motivation during the process of constructing the hope for a cure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13724
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • China
  • qualitative research
  • terminally ill cancer patients
  • the hope for a cure

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