Survivor identity after colorectal cancer: Antecedents, prevalence and outcomes

Chambers, Suzanne K. and Baade, Peter and Meng, Xingqiong and Youl, Pip and Aitken, Joanne and Dunn, Jeff ORCID: (2012) Survivor identity after colorectal cancer: Antecedents, prevalence and outcomes. Psycho-Oncology, 21 (9). pp. 962-969. ISSN 1057-9249


Objective Cancer survivor identity has become a dominant paradigm in describing people with cancer and in driving the focus of programmes and research in supportive care. This study investigated antecedents of survivor identity adoption and population-based prevalence. Methods A prospective survey of a population-based sample of 1966 (57% response) patients with colorectal cancer assessed socio-demographic variables, health behaviours, optimism, benefit finding, cancer threat appraisal, psychological distress and satisfaction with life at 5 months post-diagnosis as predictors of survivor identity 5 years subsequently. Prevalence of survivor identity at 5 years post-diagnosis and psychological and lifestyle outcomes (n = 786) were later assessed. Results Fifty-five per cent of people identified as a cancer survivor, 39.4% as a person who had had (or has) cancer, 1.4% as a cancer patient and 1.2% as a cancer victim. People who were older and who reported higher personal growth after diagnosis were more likely to assume a survivor identity at 5 years. At 5 years, survivors had higher benefit finding and better satisfaction with life. Cancer survivors uniquely reported a significant decrease in somatization and acceptance, and increases in satisfaction with life and physical activity over time. Conclusions For patients with colorectal cancer, the cancer survivor identity is common but not universal 5 years after diagnosis; and may evolve from looking for benefit after cancer through personal growth. People who adopt a cancer survivor identity report more positive adjustment outcomes after cancer and this has implications for the design of clinical and community support interventions.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 04:44
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2022 02:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: Benefit finding; cancer survivor identity; Oncology; satisfaction with life; Somatisation; Cancer; Public Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology; Psychiatry; Gastroenterology;
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis > 111299 Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3211 Oncology and carcinogenesis > 321199 Oncology and carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
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