Objectives: Adolescents with cancer experience several psychosocial concerns. Cancer among adolescents contributes to one-fifth of cancers in India. Most of the published empirical literature on adolescents’ views about their cancer experience is from high-income countries. The objectives of the study were to explore the experiences of adolescents with cancer in India. Materials and Methods: Twenty-eight adolescents were purposively recruited and participated in prospectively conducted qualitative interviews conducted at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, between 2013 and 2015. Interview data were transcribed and analysed using Braun and Clarke’s reflexive thematic analysis. Results: Two themes and several subthemes were generated during the analysis. The transition to the new reality of illness was traumatic. It embodied fear about the unknown, disease and symptoms. The experience was isolating and disfigurement further led to peer separation. Inadequate information made the adolescents anxious and worried, and children and parents experienced moments of severe distress. The love and support received from parents, siblings and extended family facilitated positive coping. Peer support was reassuring and enabled them to have a normalising experience. Discovering their inner strength, acceptance of the situation and faith in God made them resilient and hopeful. Conclusion: Adolescents with cancer experience significant emotional concerns, which are often unexplored and unaddressed. An adolescent-specific communication framework and psychosocial programme contextual to the Indian setting may be developed based on the study findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health