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Narrative Research: Women's Experiences Following Treatment for Early Stage Breast Cancer in 21st-Century Britain

By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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This case study describes how I used narrative research to explore the experiences of 24 women who had been treated for early stage breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ between 6 months and 29 years previously. I focus on the sampling process and the carrying out of narrative interviewing and analysis as well as reflect on my insider status due to my own experience of early stage breast cancer. This brought both benefits and drawbacks to the research but ultimately resulted in a unique perspective. Participants were accessed through a press release and were interviewed in-depth. Data were then analysed using narrative and thematic analysis. The inductive nature of the research revealed that the post-treatment period presented particular challenges such as a simultaneous loss of medical and social support. Fear of recurrence and changes to bodies and relationships meant that some participants were in a liminal state between health and illness. I describe their mixed feelings of elation, relief, distress and guilt as a ‘new normal’.

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