Womens' experiences of breast cancer when diagnosed in old age: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Vanderpuye, Agnes Naa-Amelay 2011. Womens' experiences of breast cancer when diagnosed in old age: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsVanderpuye, Agnes Naa-Amelay
TypeProf Doc Thesis

It is well documented that the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can result
in difficulties across a number of psychological domains. However, there is
limited insight into this experience in relation to older women, despite evidence
that women over the age of 65 are more likely to contract, and die, from the
disease than any other age group. This research study aimed to augment the
breast cancer literature by adding the experience of breast cancer from the
perspective of this hitherto under researched group. Most specifically, this
research study aimed to explore the lived experiences as defined and prioritised
by the women themselves. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews,
and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 1996). The
participant group comprised seven women with ages ranging from 65-75 years.
Four themes emerged from the transcripts: Liminality; Normality; Systemic
Interactions and Theorising for Positive Effect. The study found that diagnosis
was identified as a time of particular crisis, but that by maintaining normative life
patterns, by relying on formal systems for emotional support and by theorising
their experience in ways that maintained their sense of mastery, these women
were able to have a lived experience of breast cancer which most described as
unproblematic. In contrast with findings from some other literature, the role of
professionals emerged as the primary sources of emotional support for
participants, irrespective of participants' marital or familial situation. On the basis
of the findings implications and recommendations are presented.

Publication dates
PrintMay 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Mar 2014
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