Purpose/Objectives: To explore the experience and meaning of hope in relation to the healing process of patients living with stage IIIb or IV non-small cell lung cancer.
Research Approach: Interpretative qualitative study design.
Setting: Peter Brojde Lung Cancer Centre in the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Participants: 12 English- and French-speaking patients, aged 36-78 years.
Methodologic Approach: One 60-90-minute semistructured interview per participant was conducted. An inductive approach to data analysis was taken, involving immersion in the data, coding, classifying, and creating linkages.
Findings: Four main themes emerged: (a) the morass of shattered hope, (b) tentative steps toward a new hope paradigm, (c) reframing hope within the context of a life-threatening illness, and (d) strengthening the link between hope and wellness.
Conclusions: Patients described a process where hope was diminished or lost entirely, regained, and reshaped as they learned to live and grow following their diagnosis.
Interpretation: This study adds to the literature by describing the dynamic nature of hope as well as factors facilitating or hindering the hope process. It demonstrates how finding meaning, a structural component of healing, can be used to envision a new hopeful future. This study suggests hope and healing cannot exist in isolation, and highlights the importance of understanding the fluctuating nature of hope in patients with advanced lung cancer to foster it, therefore promoting healing.