This paper employs the writings of Heidegger, not only to provide a research methodology, but also a philosophical framework that guides a way of understanding being with gastrointestinal cancer. Drawing on Heidegger's philosophy allows an existential and ontological perspective that frames experience around the condition of human existence and being. Existentialism considers an individual's emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thoughts in the creation of individual meanings (Macquarrie, 1972).
Historically, biomedical research methods are aligned with the philosophy of Rene Descartes which sees the mind as being thoroughly distinct from the physiological functions of the body (Descartes, 1640/1904, p. 273). This concept of Cartesian dualism gives no space to the relevance of the psychological impact of illness and inva-sive therapies and their meanings to an individual. The alternative approach of Phenomenology emerged with the philosophy of Husserl (1913).
Husserl sought new, rigorous scienti? c methods that could strip away what we take for granted and believe about things in the world, to reveal the fundamental essence of a phenomenon (Husserl, 1931/1960, pp. 10-12). In his later works, Husserl (1936/1970, 1931/1960) presented the ‘life-world' as a place where a man, with both a body and soul lives the life of the world with other men. He believed that scienti? c judgements should be grounded in such evidence as ‘experiences' of men in their world.The existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was built on Husserl's ideas around living within a world and sharing common meanings.
However Heidegger did not believe we could separate ourselves from our existing understandings and beliefs. Instead he saw the very nature of our being in-the-world as shaped by those things in our life-world that we ‘care' about. The Heideggerian notion of ‘care' means being drawn towards things in your world of personal concern that require attention (Heidegger, 1927/1996, p. 83).
Heideggerian hermeneutic analysis relies on the interpretation of written records of discourse or talk. Pioneered by Dilthey (1883/1976), hermeneutics was applied by Heidegger as a method of revealing the existential meanings of lived experience. In our study these written records take the form of verbatim interview transcriptions which allow us to unravel subjective meanings con-structed through the person's culture, language, experience and social relationships (McConnell-Henry, Chapman, & Francis, 2009).