Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type





Cancer is a life altering experience, and is the leading cause of death between infancy and fifteen years of age. This thesis explored coping, stress, and pain management of the individual and family throughout the lived experience of pediatric cancer. The participants in this study included three individuals ages one to seventeen from Montana. This research was qualitative and was based on the phenomenological method which has an emphasis on everyday lived experiences with pediatric cancer. Themes from this study included the following: (a) seeking a diagnosis, (b) remaining hopeful throughout treatment, (c) feeling exposed and vulnerable, (d) family support and coping, (e) nurses impacting care, and (f) individual growth through the experience. The findings of this study can help nurses gain a better understanding about the coping process of the individual with cancer and his or her family. Participants in this study recommended that nurses communicate, advocate, and genuinely care about their patients to facilitate a better healing environment.