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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 765419, 11 pages
Research Article

Secular, Spiritual, and Religious Existential Concerns of Women with Ovarian Cancer during Final Diagnostics and Start of Treatment

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aarhus University Hospital, Brendstrupgaardsvej 100, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
2Research Unit of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
3Institute of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Greenland, Greenland
4Klinik und Poliklinik für Palliativmedizin, LMU, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 München, Germany
5Research Unit of Health, Man and Society (50%), Institute of Public Health, SDU, Odense J. B. Winsløwsvej 9B, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
6Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Freiburg University, Albertstraße 19, 79014 Freiburg, Germany

Received 5 July 2013; Revised 8 September 2013; Accepted 9 September 2013

Academic Editor: Harold G. Koenig

Copyright © 2013 Lene Seibaek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. This paper deals with secular, spiritual, and religious existential concerns during severe illness. Materials and Methods. Qualitative research interviews were made before and after surgery with women who underwent final diagnostics, surgery, and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. By applying a phenomenological-hermeneutic text interpretation methodology the findings were systematically identified, placed into meaning structures, interpreted, and critically discussed. Results. The analysis offered insight into the complexity of challenges and personal development over time in being a woman with ovarian cancer during her first treatment period. Although the women experienced their health to be seriously threatened, they also felt hope, will, and courage. The diagnostic procedures and treatment had comprehensive impact on their lives. However, hope and spirituality were important resources of comfort and meaning. Conclusion. Hope and courage to face life represent significant personal resources that are created not only in the interplay between body and mind but also between patients and their healthcare professionals. The women dealt with this in a dialectical manner, so that hope and despair could be present simultaneously. In this process secular, spiritual, and religious existential meaning orientations assisted the women in creating new narratives and obtain new orientations in life.