Experiences of patients with colorectal cancer from diagnosis until completion of treatment: A meta-ethnography approach

Christiane Hildebrandt*, Hanna Mayer, Antje Koller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The purpose of this meta-synthesis was to explore the experience of living with symptoms caused by colorectal cancer (CRC) and its treatment from the perspectives of those affected. Methods: In a systematic search of qualitative studies published up to September 2017, 21 relevant papers were identified. The meta-ethnography followed the approach developed by Noblit and Hare. To relate key themes from one paper to similar themes of different papers, a “reciprocal translation” was carried out. Results: Through synthesis, a new model was developed during treatment (“lines-of-argument synthesis”). Two constructs of experiences took place before the illness. Six third-order constructs were developed to capture patients' experiences during treatment, including “disruption in life through CRC” as well as the complex and circular experiences summarized as “experiences of symptoms and challenges by CRC”. In contrast, experiences in dealing with changes that CRC and the treatment imply were “making sense of the experience”, “sharing the experience”, “experiences with controlling ones' body”, and “experiences with reforming life”. Conclusions: This meta-ethnography clarifies fundamental aspects of patients' experience in very different settings or starting points by specifying a more complete and holistic spectrum of experiences with CRC and its treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-227
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • colorectal cancer
  • experience
  • meta-ethnography
  • qualitative research
  • symptoms
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Self Concept
  • Attitude to Health
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life/psychology
  • Adaptation, Psychological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental Health
  • Oncology


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