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Making new meanings of being in the world after treatment for oral cancer
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research.
2009 (English)In: Qualitative Health Research, ISSN 1049-7323, E-ISSN 1552-7557, Vol. 19, no 8, 1076-1086 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When the mouth is affected by cancer, difficulties in satisfying basic human needs such as eating, tasting, swallowing, and speaking might arise, and the existential significance of the mouth might become obvious. How does it feel to live with these difficulties? What does it mean to be a human being living with the consequences of oral cancer? Five patients with oral cancer were interviewed a median time of 4 years after the beginning of treatment. A hermeneutic research approach was used to understand, explain, and interpret the transcribed interviews and showed how the consequences of oral cancer affected the being-in-the-world of the participants in three ways: existing as oneself, existing in the eyes of others, and existing with others. Against the background of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, these findings illuminate how essential the mouth is to a human being's identity and existence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 19, no 8, 1076-1086 p.
Keyword [en]
cancer, oral, Gadamer, Heidegger, hermeneutics, Ricoeur
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-113992DOI: 10.1177/1049732309341192ISI: 000268396500005PubMedID: 19638601OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-113992DiVA: diva2:292492
Available from: 2010-02-08 Created: 2010-02-08 Last updated: 2013-08-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Understanding Oral Cancer - A Lifeworld Approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Oral Cancer - A Lifeworld Approach
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Dental involvement with oral cancer patients during their treatment and rehabilitation can be long and intense. How can dental personnel better understand their role in the treatment of these patients? How does treatment affect the patients and their spouses? In searching for answers, the theories of phenomenography, phenomenology and hermeneutics are used to describe and interpret the experiences of the hospital dental treatment teams, oral cancer patients, and their spouses.

Study I reveals that hospital dental treatment teams perceive the encounter with head and neck cancer patients in three qualitatively different ways; as an act of caring, as a serious and responsible task, and as an overwhelming emotional situation, indicating that they are not always able to lean on education and professional training in dealing with situations with strong emotional impact. Study II gives insight into the lifeworld of oral cancer patients, and how the patient becomes embodied in a mouth that is increasingly `uncanny´, as it slowly ceases to function normally. Study III shows that oral cancer puts a hold on the lifeworld of the patients’ spouses which can be described as `living in a state of suspension´. These findings suggest that the support needs of patients and spouses appear to be greatest at treatment end, when, upon returning home, they are faced with the accumulated impact of the patients’ sickness and treatment. Study IV gives insight into what it may mean to live with the consequences of oral cancer, revealing a silent physical, emotional and existential struggle to adjust to a changed way of living.

This thesis raises the question if todays’ organisation of oral cancer care can meet the varying emotional and existential needs of treatment teams, patients and spouses that were brought to light.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2007. 64 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 284
Surgery, Oral cancer, Dentistry, Lifeworld approach, Phenomenography, Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Multiprofessional collabotation, Kirurgi
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8284 (URN)978-91-554-7004-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-11-29, Fåhreussalen, Rudbecklaboratoriet, Dag Hammarskjölds vag 20, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2007-11-08 Created: 2007-11-08 Last updated: 2010-12-28Bibliographically approved

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