Younger women's experiences of the psychosocial impact of breast cancer : diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
Mjadu, S'thembile Nontobeko.
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Using the biopsychosocial model and the Epigenetic principle, this study looked into younger women's experiences of the psychosocial impact of breast cancer at diagnosis, treatment and beyond the breast cancer experience. Case study methodology was employed and five women between the ages of 20 and 40 were interviewed on their experiences using the semi-structured approach to interviewing. The knowledge gained was analysed thematically. Results of the study revealed that breast cancer posed major psychosocial challenges for these young women as they attempted to negotiate the illness experience with the activities developmentally appropriate to their life stage. Developmentally relevant challenges were expressed in the areas of work, childrearing and partner-relationships and it was evident that spirituality and positive social support networks such as friendships and church groups played a significant role in helping individuals cope with the process, and emerge from it with an increased value for life.