Younger women's experiences with distress at time of breast biopsy and diagnosis

Mayer, Carole R. (2013) Younger women's experiences with distress at time of breast biopsy and diagnosis. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In Canada, over 23,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually with approximately 19% of these women under the age of 50. Younger women diagnosed with breast cancer often have inferior survival rates and higher recurrence rates compared to older women. The purpose of this research was to bring attention to younger women's experiences with distress from the time they are informed of a breast detected abnormality requiring biopsy until a diagnosis is confirmed. The study focused on women 50 years of age or younger and who were pre-menopausal. -- The breast cancer discourse often focuses on women's ability or inability to adapt or cope with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Feminist epistemologies of standpoint theories provided a theoretical framework to guide this study to understand the structural organization of the health care system that may induce or exacerbate distress from younger women's point of view. Principles of Feminist Participatory Action Research were applied as part of the methodology to engage young women in a dialogue to share their personal experiences and make recommendations for the health care system to be more responsive to younger women's breast health needs. -- The uniqueness of this qualitative study is that 14 younger women were interviewed prospectively prior and after diagnosis. Research methods included 28 in-depth interviews and two focus groups; participants also kept journals. Data was analyzed using a voice centered relational method. Three themes are discussed as part of the findings: (1) The Unexpected: Finding of a Breast Problem and the Beginning of Anticipatory Illness- Loss of Innocence, The Vulnerability of Living with the Unknown, The 'Being' in Being a Patient and Mobilizing Support While Caring for Others. (2) The Journey from the other Side- I don't have Breast Cancer. (3) The Journey from the Other Side- I have breast cancer. -- The research undertaken brings awareness to the experiences of younger women undergoing a breast cancer investigation who have defined distress from their perspective with the hope that the deli very of health care policy and services, including psychosocial services, at time of breast biopsy and diagnosis can be improved.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 10994
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 274-288)
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Breast--Cancer--Patients--Psychology; Young women--Psychology; Distress (Psychology); Women's health services.

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