Lung cancer is common in males as well as females and is one of the most common causes of cancer related deaths worldwide. To gain an in-depth understanding of the ‘pedagogy of suffering’ (Frank, 1995: 145), the lived experiences of 12 adult patients in Northern Ireland diagnosed with advanced lung cancer were captured during two qualitative interviews with each patient (one month apart), which were audio-recorded. This article outlines analysis which used Frank’s (1995) narrative structures of restitution, chaos and quest, to provide rich insights into how patients narrated their ‘suffering’ over time. Findings revealed frustration and loss of faith in medical physicians due to a delayed diagnosis; resignation regarding treatment options and outcomes; externalisation of a disease that society fears, curbs life expectancy and causes biographical disruption; and powerlessness underpinned by a heroic return to put affairs in order, encourage others and share hopes for the future. In an era of health and social work practitioners experiencing increasing bureaucracy and caseloads, these findings highlight the importance of prioritising the psychosocial needs of patients, supporting patients with the emotional and practical challenges of living with a life-limiting illness, and of skilful practitioners promoting peaceful closure in end of life care.
- Lung Cancer