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Women facing breast cancer and living with experience of breast cancer

Teja Kern (2018) Women facing breast cancer and living with experience of breast cancer. MSc thesis.

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    The master’s thesis focuses on women’s experiences of breast cancer. Breast cancer in women is one of the most common diseases worldwide, and it can affect any woman, causing her considerable mental distress. The theoretical part of the thesis starts by defining breast cancer as a disease and then moves on to how patients experience it in the various stages of the disease. Possible kinds of mental distress are described which occur during breast cancer as well as possibilities of relieving them. The theoretical part is concluded by the presentation of personal, posttraumatic growth after recovery. The empirical part presents the findings of my qualitative research study, in which I used semi-structured interviews to examine how women faced and experienced breast cancer. My sample consisted of four women with the experience of breast cancer. The research questions focused on the women’s experiences in all the stages of the disease, on how they faced the changing body image, how they used strategies to alleviate emotional distress and how effective the strategies were and, finally, on the respondents’ attitudes towards life after recovery. The results show that the process of going through breast cancer is related to negative emotions and anguish, which are strongest during the periods of establishing diagnosis and intensive treatment. In the period of long-term survival negative experiences diminish. My research study demonstrates the experiences to be especially traumatic at the times of more significant body changes, such as hair or breast loss, which also brings the most challenges in terms of accepting one’s new body image. The individuals in my study used various strategies for emotional relief, for instance, looking for information, for social, religious or spiritual support. The strategies proved only partly effective. The findings also show that after their treatment the patients developed certain new attitudes towards life, which can be described as posttraumatic growth. This research contributes to a better understanding of the experiences of women in the various stages of breast cancer and its treatment as well as to the holistic treatment of women with breast cancer.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: breast cancer, experiences of breast cancer, strategies for facing breast cancer, psychosocial support
    Number of Pages: 59
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Simona ProsenMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=12086857)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5229
    Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2018 09:27
    Last Modified: 21 Aug 2018 09:27
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5229

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