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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology

First Advisor

Chris Wellin


Medical advances have made cancer survivorship more common. Research has shown that cancer survivors can face long term physical and psychosocial challenges. However, little has been done to address these physical and psychosocial challenges or to adequately deal with cancer survivors' long term care after initial treatment ends. Young adult (YA) cancer survivors face specific difficulties related to getting cancer at this particular time in their life course (i.e. as they negotiate their entry into adulthood). The goal of this study is to investigate how YA cancer survivors experience and negotiate their entry into adulthood despite the challenges they face. Much of the research that has been done on YA cancer has been done through surveys. Survey methodology makes it impossible to gain information that is not directly asked in the survey thus missing the opportunity to follow-up on questions. This project investigated how YA cancer survivors experience and negotiate their entry into adulthood by conducting semi-structured interviews with survivors. These interviews were guided by an interpretive approach used by other scholars who seek to understand the subjective meanings and socio-emotional implications of chronic illness (e.g. Charmaz 1991; Conrad 1987). Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted looking at how the illness career impacted the transition to adulthood. Results showed that cancer survivors faced losses, missed normative life experiences, faced uncertainty, and shifted their values. These experiences affected their transition to adulthood suggesting the need for further research on how cancer, side-effects, and late effects impact YA cancer survivors, throughout their illness careers, as they experience and negotiate their entry into adulthood. Information and supports should be available to help YA cancer survivors deal with the psychosocial issues of their illness careers.


Imported from ProQuest Young_ilstu_0092N_10567.pdf


Page Count


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