“It’s not JUST skin cancer”: Understanding their cancer experience from melanoma survivor narratives shared online Journal Article


Authors: Banerjee, S. C.; D’Agostino, T. A.; Gordon, M. L.; Hay, J. L.
Article Title: “It’s not JUST skin cancer”: Understanding their cancer experience from melanoma survivor narratives shared online
Abstract: Cancer survivors narrate their experiences in unique ways, articulating different aspects of the cancer journey. The purpose of this study was to analyze the content of cancer narratives that melanoma survivors share online in order to present the ways that survivors narrate their cancer experience, to identify survivors’ motivations for sharing, and to better understand the ways in which survivors are impacted by and cope with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The sample consisted of 95 unique melanoma survivor narratives, accessed from the Melanoma Research Foundation in November 2015, that were inductively and deductively coded for key themes and subthemes. Emergent themes described different aspects of the melanoma experience during prediagnosis (identification of self-phenotype, searching for causes, suspicious findings, delay in diagnosis), diagnosis (communication of diagnosis, emotional responses), transition from diagnosis to beginning treatment (second opinion), treatment (positive reframing of attitude, proactive cancer management, side effects), and posttreatment phases (social support, vigilance behaviors posttreatment). Two themes that cut across all phases of the cancer journey included recognizing and dealing with uncertainty and survivors’ motive for sharing narrative. These findings have implications for understanding how melanoma survivors may benefit personally from sharing their cancer experience online and for the potential for survivor narratives to motivate behavior change and facilitate coping among readers. © 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Journal Title: Health Communication
Volume: 33
Issue: 2
ISSN: 1041-0236
Publisher: Routledge  
Date Published: 2018-02-01
Start Page: 188
End Page: 201
Language: English
DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1250707
PROVIDER: scopus
PMCID: PMC5474216
PUBMED: 27982699
DOI/URL:
Notes: Article -- Export Date: 2 January 2018 -- Source: Scopus
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MSK Authors
  1. Jennifer L Hay
    161 Hay
  2. Mallorie Laura Gordon
    5 Gordon