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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 Oct;42(4):517-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2010.12.007. Epub 2011 Mar 27.

Self-management and transitions in women with advanced breast cancer.

Author information

1
Yale School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. dena.schulman-green@yale.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Self-management involves behaviors that individuals perform to handle health conditions. Self-management may be particularly challenging during transitions-shifts from one life phase or status to another, for example, from cure- to noncure-oriented care-because they can be disruptive and stressful. Little is known about individuals' experiences with self-management, especially during transitions.

OBJECTIVES:

Our purpose was to describe experiences of self-management in the context of transitions among women with advanced breast cancer.

METHODS:

We interviewed a purposive sample of 15 women with metastatic breast cancer about their self-management preferences, practices, and experiences, including how they managed transitions. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. The qualitative method of interpretive description was used to code and analyze the data.

RESULTS:

Participants' mean age was 52 years (range 37-91 years); most were White (80%), married (80%), and college educated (60%). Self-management practices related to womens' health and to communication with loved ones and providers. Participants expressed a range of preferences for participation in self-management. Self-management included developing skills, becoming empowered, and creating supportive networks. Barriers to self-management included symptom distress, difficulty obtaining information, and lack of knowledge about the cancer trajectory. Women identified transitions as shifts in physical, emotional, and social well-being, as when their cancer progressed and there was a need to change therapy. Transitions often prompted changes in how actively women self-managed and were experienced as positive, negative, and neutral.

CONCLUSION:

Self-management preferences can vary. Providers should explore and revisit patients' preferences and ability to self-manage over time, particularly during transitions.

PMID:
21444183
PMCID:
PMC3205931
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2010.12.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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