Traveling through the cancer trajectory: Social support perceived by women with gynecologic cancer in Hong Kong

Carmen W.H. Chan, Alexandros Molasiotis, Bernard M.C. Yam, S. J. Chan, Charlotte S.W. Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


A qualitative research design was selected to gather data on the experiences of social support for Chinese women with gynecologic cancer. Eighteen women were recruited and interviewed at an oncology unit of a teaching hospital in Hong Kong. Content analysis of the interview data showed Chinese women with gynecologic cancer placed enormous emphasis on their human relationships. Family members were especially significant to them although not all identified their family relations as satisfactory or helpful. Their social network comprised 4 major sources, including family and friends, work and colleagues, health professionals, and religion and spiritual beliefs. Each network offered significant reciprocal relations, authoritative relations, or entrusting relations. The positive appraisal of the support function was linked to the Chinese value of food, work ethics, the Confucian and religious philosophy, whereas negative aspects of support, such as the stress of maintaining relationships and inadequate information, conjoined with the Chinese suppression of emotion and the busyness of health professionals. Future studies, including social relations as a determinant, should ensure a broad and multifunctional view of social support and acknowledge the cultural influences on the perspective of support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Gynecologic cancer
  • Hong Kong Chinese women
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)

Cite this