Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Hematology Cancer patient Experience of ' Facing Death' in the last Year of Life: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study

Campbell, Karen; Harris, Fiona; Stoddart, Kathleen


Fiona Harris

Kathleen Stoddart


For hematology cancer patients, the process of dying is described as “troublesome.” Qualitative studies have focused on views of healthcare professionals and caregiver stakeholders. To date, there have been no studies from the patient’s perspective on facing death while in the last year of life.

The aim of this study was to develop an understanding of the hematology cancer patient’s experience of the process of dying in the last year of life.

The study method was constructivist grounded theory using semistructured interviews, a constant comparison technique, and memoing to collection and analysis of data. The 21 participants were attending a UK cancer center, a cancer unit, or a hospice.

This article describes 1 core category within the incurable hematology cancer illness trajectory through 4 subcategories: transitional phase, chronic phase, dying phase, and liminal phase.

This unique study illustrates that, although life can be prolonged, “facing death” still occurs upon hospitalization and relapse regularly over the illness trajectory.

Implications for Practice
It is important that clinical practice acknowledges those participants in an incurable illness trajectory while living are focused on avoiding death rather than the ability to cure the disease. Services need to be responsive to the ambiguity of both living and dying by providing holistic management simultaneously, especially after critical episodes of care, to enhance the process of care in the last year of life, and assessment should incorporate the discussion of experiencing life-threatening events.


Campbell, K., Harris, F., & Stoddart, K. (in press). The Hematology Cancer patient Experience of ' Facing Death' in the last Year of Life: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study. Cancer Nursing,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 11, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 19, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 20, 2023
Journal Cancer Nursing: An International Journal of cancer care research
Print ISSN 0162-220X
Publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Death, Dying, Grounded theory, Hematology cancer, Last year of life
Public URL