Rethinking the Meaning of 'Wellness' for a Person with Cancer: A Qualitative Study to Explore What Elements Constitute 'Wellness'

Jodie Nixon, Raymond Chan, Emma McKinnell, Elizabeth Ward, Elizabeth Pinkham, Laurelie Wishart, Elizabeth Miller, Bena Brown

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Objective: This study explored what people with cancer and their family members define as wellness, and what they perceive to be the needs to support wellness during the cancer experience. Methods: This study utilized qualitative focus groups underpinned by an interpretative descriptive design. Participants included people with a cancer diagnosis having completed/currently undergoing cancer treatment, and/or family/friends. Participants were invited to share their experience and perceptions of cancer wellness, which was then mapped in relation to Hettler's six dimensions of wellness. Results: Twenty-six participants (16 people with cancer, ten family/friends) were involved in the process. All six dimensions of wellness were reported by the groups with 19 descriptive content categories that related to these domains. The data revealed that people with cancer and family/friends have individual and diverse meanings of wellness. Participants offered suggestions for strategies to promote wellness relating to the environment and supportive care interventions. Conclusions: People with cancer and their families experience wellness individually. Cancer wellness models should consider the personal nature of wellness in relation to the six domains of wellness when developing wellness programs, including health professional access, an environment that supports wellness, the provision and access to reliable information, and support the key needs of being physically active and financial security.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-368
Number of pages9
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers
  • cancer
  • facilitators
  • survivorship
  • wellness


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