Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Cancer-Patients-Psychology, Cancer-Psychological aspects, Young adults-Psychology, Life change events-Psychological aspects, Survivor, Survivorship, Transition


This is a qualitative study exploring the experience of young adults diagnosed with cancer as they transition from active treatment to full-time survivorship. The question on which this study is based is: What was this transition like logistically, emotionally, and relationally for those who have gone through it, in particular for young adults? This study was undertaken to identify if this was a significant transition and what support is needed through the process; implications for social work practice are included. One-on-one interviews were conducted with twelve participants who were between the ages of 18 and 35, within two years of having finished treatment for cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery) and in remission. Questions were asked regarding the participants' experience of ending treatment, how this has affected them and their relationships, which aspects were most difficult, and where support would have been useful. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and then systematically organized into themes and sub-themes using the method of grounded theory. The research finds the ending of treatment to be a significant transition. Participants reported unanticipated consequences of the ending of treatment, including strong emotions, fear of recurrence, continued physical effects, and difficulty integrating their experience. Participants suggested the utility of having support prior to and through this transition to normalize and ease the process.




iv, 58 p. : ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 50-51)