Self-Reorientation Following Colorectal Cancer Treatment – A Grounded Theory Study

Ann-Caroline B Johansson*, 1, 3, Malin Axelsson2, Ina Berndtsson3, Eva Brink1, 3
1 Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
2 Department of Care Science, Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden
3 Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden

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© Johansson et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden; Tel: +460520-22 38 46; E-mail:


After colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment, people reorganize life in ways that are consistent with their understanding of the illness and their expectations for recovery. Incapacities and abilities that have been lost can initiate a need to reorient the self. To the best of our knowledge, no studies have explicitly focused on the concept of self-reorientation after CRC treatment. The aim of the present study was therefore to explore self-reorientation in the early recovery phase after CRC surgery. Grounded theory analysis was undertaken, using the method presented by Charmaz. The present results explained self-reorientation as the individual attempting to achieve congruence in self-perception. A congruent self-perception meant bringing together the perceived self and the self that was mirrored in the near environs. The results showed that societal beliefs and personal explanations are essential elements of self-reorientation, and that it is therefore important to make them visible.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer, illness perception, recovery, self-perception, self-regulation, self-reorientation.