Previously fears in adolescents with cancer has been identified in relation to medical procedures, death, altered appearance and as having an overall influence on life, but to our knowledge young people's perspectives on dealing with fear have not been previously investigated.
To examine adolescents' perspectives on dealing with cancer related fear.
Six girls participated in qualitative interviews focussing on their fear and and how they dealt with it. Data were analysed by means of qualitative content analysis.
The results revealed two perspectives. First, the adolescents' own personal battle with fear. Second, they reported that they were not alone with their fear, as they shared it with significant others. An environment characterized by emotional presence helped them to deal with their fear, as well as prevented it from occurring.
There is a need for staff and parents to be vigilant to the adolescents' need to feel cared for and allow them the opportunity to deal with their own fear, as at times they want to manage in their own way. Young patients have resources to cope with their fears and therefore should not be viewed as victims, but as young people with a great amount of competence, who benefit from a supportive environment.