Published: September 8, 2020

Plage, S. (2020). Cancer survivorship reimagined: A qualitative study on evolving interpretative repertoires of cancer and survivorship using participant‐produced photography. European Journal of Cancer Care, e13320.


Stefanie Plage



As more people live with cancer and for longer time periods, it is important to understand the growing diversity in lived experiences of survivorship. This study explored interpretative repertoires around cancer and their implications for survivorship from the perspectives of people with cancer to inform communication in cancer care.


The sample included 11 participants (7 male, 4 female) with diverse cancer diagnoses and prognoses recruited through two public cancer care centres in Queensland, Australia. A narrative analysis of sequential interviews (n = 20) and photographs produced by the participants (n = 455) was conducted.


Four interrelated metaphors and narratives emerged in the interpretative repertoires of participants: cancer as a presence, survivorship as a struggle for meaning, survivorship as movement and survivorship as confluence. Continuities with “battle” and “journey” terminology were evident. However, these were subtly adapted and reimagined within participants’ own lived experience. This was particularly pronounced among participants with incurable cancers, as they strived to make sense of contradictions within cancer survivorship.


The findings offer in‐depth insights into the complexity and nuances of cancer survivorship. Such insights can contribute to facilitating successful and open‐ended communication between cancer care providers, people with cancer and their families.