Experience of siblings of children treated for cancer

Experience of siblings of children treated for cancer

Margaretha Nolbrisa, c, , , Karin Enskärb, and Anna-Lena Hellströmc,

aDepartment of Pediatric Oncology, Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, SE-416 85 Göteborg, Sweden bDepartment of Nursing Science, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Box 1026, SE-551 11 Jönköping, Sweden cInstitute of Nursing, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Box 457, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden


The aim was to obtain an understanding of the experience in everyday life of being a sibling when a brother or sister is receiving treatment for a cancer disease or has completed treatment.

In order to illuminate the experience of the siblings themselves a phenomenological-hermeneutic method was used.

Ten siblings were asked, in the form of a broad-based, open question, to tell about their experience of being the sibling of a brother or sister in this situation. There was an awareness of sibling-ship as a special relation since the brother or sister had got cancer.

This feeling was very strong and close, and when needed the sibling admitted a protective and advocacy role. The siblings felt difficulties to always be loyal with the brother or sister needs and demands from other interests.

They lived a new life and periods of ups and down following the condition of the brother or sister. Everyday life varied from joy to a life filled with worries and anxiety. Siblings experienced feelings of an existential nature, such as quality of life and death.

European Journal of Oncology Nursing Volume 11, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 106-112

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