The role of self-management practices as mechanisms for re-establishing normality in cancer survivors

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This article explores the relationship between cancer survivors’ use of self-management practices and their search for normality. Using Frank’s illness narratives (A. W. Frank, 1995) and other theoretical literature on normality in chronic illness (Barlow, Wright, Sheasby, Turner, & Hainsworth, 2002; Barovsky, 1978; Bury, 1982; C Foster & D Fenlon, 2011; G. Williams, 1984), it draws on findings from a qualitative study to explore different ways cancer survivors use self-management practices to re-establish normality in their lives post-cancer. The findings suggest that ‘normality’ represents different things to cancer survivors. We suggest that normality in survivorship is not a static concept, but is fluid and at certain times cancer survivors may display some or all of these different versions of normality. The findings show that self-management practices can help cancer survivors experiment with different health and lifestyle processes, to help support their ‘normal’ daily lifestyle activities, quality of life and wellbeing.


Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Early online date23 May 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2016


  • United Kingdom, cancer survivorship, self-management, normality, chronic illness, qualitative interviews