The impact of breast cancer on living an everyday life 4.5-5 years post-diagnosis: a qualitative prospective study of 39 women
2011 (English)In: Acta Oncologica, ISSN 0284-186X, E-ISSN 1651-226X, Vol. 50, no 3, 399-407 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background. The survival of women with breast cancer has improved. There are many studies available describing different aspects of how the illness and its treatment affect the women. Usually these studies are cross-sectional and focus on assessments of a sample of women at a single point in time during post-treatment. These studies are important but of limited value if we are interested in understanding more about breast cancer in a life context. The present study is a contribution.
Methods. A consecutive sample of 39 women was followed up by means of repeated thematic interviews about how they lived their lives, from the end of radiation therapy to a point four years later, i.e. 4.5–5 years post diagnosis.
Results. Four different groups of women emerged. Largely, the first group evaluated the cancer initiated transformation of their lives in a positive way. The breast cancer helped them depart from a career treadmill or to positive interpersonal experiences. In the second group the cancer and its treatment seemed to pass without marked traces. The cancer made a difference for the third group, but both in positive and negative ways. A different life perspective or improved relationships were weighted against troublesome side effects from treatment. Finally, in the fourth group a bodily decline due to side effects and other health problems was predominant and this obstructed their chances of living a good life.
Discussion. The narratives showed that being diseased by breast cancer has different impacts depending on how the woman lives her life – it is very much a matter of transition in a life context. The results are furthermore discussed in relation to adaptation and coping theory.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Informa Plc. , 2011. Vol. 50, no 3, 399-407 p.
Gender Studies Social Work
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-38974DOI: 10.3109/0284186X.2010.547216OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-38974DiVA: diva2:386716