Among the older population in Canada, the majority of whom are women, incurable cancer is rampant. Having incurable cancer often implies suffering. Studies reveal that communication with one’s circle is therefore often arduous, leading us to believe that it can cause suffering. To our knowledge, there has been no research that specifically explores the suffering related to communication among older women with incurable cancer: this will be the objective of our article.
This exploratory qualitative research is in humanistic psychology. It is based on a phenomenological analysis of the conceptual categories that emerged from 19 semi-structured interviews among 10 women aged 65 years and over with incurable cancer.
The results reveal both the dynamic of silence, desired in order to prevent increased suffering, and sometimes imposed and a source of further suffering. They also reveal that the absence of listening, the imposition of silence, and the minimization of what these women say, also cause suffering. The consequences of disclosing one’s illness and its suffering are also explored.