'There is still a part of me that would love to be the old me again', how do adolescents and young adults (AYA) experience cancer-related bodily changes: a phenomenological interview study.



We identified six Group Experiential Themes based on different ways AYAs experience their bodies: (1) self-conscious body, (2) vulnerable body, (3) adapting to the body, (4) uncontrollable body, (5) remembering the body and (6) shared bodies.


Semi-structured interviews with a sample of 11 AYAs with an age range of 25-41 years at the time of the interview, who were diagnosed with different types of cancer, were conducted. Participants were recruited via social media and patient associations until data saturation was reached. A topic guide with open-ended questions about lived experiences was used. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was performed to analyse the transcripts.


This knowledge could be beneficial to provide more guidance for AYAs during and after their illness, by focussing on personalised psychological (after)care.


This study offers in-depth insight into the bodily experiences of AYAs after cancer and how they respond to these changes from a phenomenological point of view.


Due to the increase in both cancer incidence and overall survival rates, more adolescents and young adults (AYAs) have to live with the effects that their cancer diagnosis and following treatments have on their bodies. This qualitative phenomenological study aimed to gain more insight into the way AYAs experience these effects and how they respond to these effects.

More about this publication

Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice
  • Publication date 04-04-2024

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