Clinical Application of Caring for Cancer Survivors through Writing to Originate a Sociological Study
To verify the practical effectiveness of using a creative writing session as supportive care for cancer survivors
Qualitative and quantitative study
After the first author proved the significance of writing in her sociological study about cancer patients’ stories, we implemented six writing sessions and evaluated the practical effectiveness as complementary care for cancer survivors. The participants were five cancer survivors: four breast cancer survivors and one ovary cancer survivor. A writing session was held monthly from October, 2014 to March, 2015. Each 90- minute writing session included writing, group discussion, short break (to relax), and answering questionnaires. Writing topics in all sessions were chosen by the participants themselves except for the first session. After all the sessions were completed, we conducted one-hour self-structured interviews with the five participants individually.
Through the interviews and questionnaires, we found that this kind of writing session put patients’ feelings in order, lightened their hearts, or gave a chance to retrace the past. The patients responded that they could face their true feelings during the writing sessions, and that they found an opportunity to think about the importance of life and living positively. As far as the questionnaires, the evaluation scores became higher gradually. The discussion after writing helped the patients share their experiences and their connection looked deeper.
The first author proved in her previous study about cancer patients’ stories that the act of writing facilities to create oneself anew, consider oneself, and find the meaning of oneself. In this study, the participants could make reflection of themselves and get energy to live with a positive mind through writing. Our study confirmed that the clinical application of caring through writing was very meaningful for cancer survivors. We also found that the discussion itself was beneficial for the patients in addition to the writing session.