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Navigating personal identity changes through the cancer journey can be challenging, especially for women in a culture that places emphasis on traditional gender roles and values close-knit families. Drawing on a story circule approach, this study examined the intersecting identities of female cancer survivors in southern Appalachia. Stories of 29 female Appalachian cancer survivors from Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia were collected via a mixed methods approach in either a day-long story circule (N-26) or an in-depth interview (N=3). Transcripts from both phases were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim; NVivo 8.0 facilitated qualitative content analysis of the data. Inductive analysis revealed that women in this study appeared in struggle with (1) maintaining place in the family, (2) mothering, and (3) navigating physical changes. Ideas of family versus self appeared to overlap and intertwine with how women in Appalachia navigate personal identify changes through the cancer journey.

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© 2012 International Academy of Business Disciplines. This document was published with permission from the publisher. It was originally published in the Business Research Yearbook.