Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Oncol Nurs Forum. 1997 Sep;24(8):1343-53.

The lived experience of surviving breast cancer.

Author information

  • 1Cancer Program, Maryvale Samaritan Hospital, Phoenix, AZ, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To explore women's perspectives of the experience of surviving breast cancer.

DESIGN:

Descriptive, phenomenologic.

SETTING:

A community in the Southwestern United States.

SAMPLE:

Eight women, ages 34-70 (mean = 54.6 years), who had completed breast cancer therapy. Average time since completion of therapy was 7.6 years (range = 2-15 years).

METHOD:

Open-ended, audiotaped interviews were transcribed and analyzed using Colaizzi's method.

MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLE:

Woman's description of the experience of surviving breast cancer.

FINDINGS:

Nine theme categories were identified from the data: a future of uncertainty, abandonment, sanctuaries along the way, self-transcendence, finding resolution to the financial cost of cancer, mediating expectations of others, survivors' lifelines, circle of influences, and the journey. The themes were developed into an essential structure. The essential structure of the experience of surviving breast cancer is one of facing the unknown and experiencing many losses. At the same time, this journey evolves into one of growth and enlightenment, providing the woman with many unexpected and new opportunities. In searching for the meaning of the journey (which changes over time), one grows and finds comfort and challenge in the midst of uncertainty. The journey affects not only the women themselves but also those around them.

CONCLUSIONS:

Surviving breast cancer evokes many feelings and concerns for the women and those around them. By identifying, acknowledging, and addressing these feelings and concerns, women can find meaning in their journey, which provides comfort and self-growth while facing the unknown future. This journey continues and changes over time, as does the meaning of the journey.

IMPLICATIONS FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE:

An awareness and description of current issues and feelings surrounding survivors of breast cancer can assist the multidisciplinary healthcare team in caring for and supporting women and their families and friends during this experience.

PMID:
9380590
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk