Psychosocial and Quality of Life Experiences of Jordanian Women with Breast Cancer
Al-Shannaq, Yasmin Musa
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The psychosocial and health-related quality of life sequelae of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is well documented in Western cultures. Knowledge gaps in the literature remain about the experiences of women with breast cancer from the perspective of other cultures and different backgrounds, such as in Arab and Muslim women. In Jordan, much of the historical literature focused on health promotion and breast cancer prevention. Little attention has been paid to post-diagnosis cancer-related symptom management, psychosocial and spiritual phenomena. The Jordanian quantitative research literature fails to provide an in-depth understanding of the traumatic effect and complex meanings associated with breast cancer within the broader context of women’s daily life. Qualitative studies offer a systematic method to examine and describe the personal experiences of Jordanian women resulting from a breast cancer diagnosis, its subsequent treatment, and short/long-term survivorship. Qualitative studies that explore and describe the multi-dimensional nature of breast cancer survivorship in Jordanian women from a nursing perspective are missing. The research question guiding the purpose of this study was “What is the essence of the psychosocial and breast cancer-related quality of life experiences of Jordanian women with breast cancer?” A descriptive phenomenology design and methodology were used to interview a purposive sample of 14 Jordanian women with stage I-IV breast cancer obtained from an oncology clinic at one hospital located in central Jordan. The narrative interviews were conducted in Arabic, transcribed, and translated into English. The narrative data was analyzed using Giorgi’s phenomenological methods for describing the structural meanings of the lived experience of breast cancer survivorship. Major themes and sub-themes emerged and were reduced to three overarching themes: Breast cancer survivorship becomes a way of life, seeking a new normality, and moving beyond thinking of breast cancer as the death disease. One all-encompassing theme was identified: Allah is the Most Loving and the Healer. The study findings inform nurses and other healthcare providers of the health care needs of survivors. Effective interventions can be developed and tested to address Arabic women’s needs; ultimately improving their quality of life, healthcare, and disease outcomes.
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