Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Martha Whetsell

Committee Members

Donna Nickitas

Steven Baumann

William Gallo

Jacqueline Witter

Subject Categories

Other Nursing


Fathers, Cancer, Dying, Phenomenology


Historically, fathers have been neglected as a research population in the nursing and oncology literature. This was in relation to their role being viewed as a disciplinarian and breadwinner instead of a nurturer. Fast-forward to modern day society, their role has evolved into a more involved parent that is necessary for their child’s development and well-being. The literature has also evolved and in recent years, this population has been gaining recognition and it is of great importance to understand their role, perception, and concerns as it pertains to being involved fathers. Therefore, when considering fathers with advanced cancer when death is imminent, an urgency and importance to continue research in this population is created. Understanding these fathers is of significant value to them and to the nurses who care for them.

The purpose of this qualitative study is to describe and understand the experience of fathers with advanced cancer. Ten fathers were interviewed and shared their experiences. The interviews were analyzed using van Manen’s (1990) phenomenological method and seven themes were uncovered that provided the structure to understand the meaning of their lived experience. Those themes are, live longer, financial security, making memories, fatherhood, maintaining normalcy, finding strength and support and dealing with challenges. From these themes, the essence of a father’s unconditional and eternal love is described and brought to a close this research study of the lived experience of fathers with advanced cancer.

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