Author(s): da Costa Vargens OM, Berter CM
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Abstract The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer induces adverse effects. In this interpretive phenomenological study, 11 Brazilian women diagnosed and treated for breast cancer were interviewed. Data included audiotaped interviews where the women's lived experiences were articulated. Data were interpreted through Heidegger's existential phenomenology. Themes that were found were interrelated and presented the essential structure of the essence the women were living-living side by side with the phantom of death. The 4 themes that were interpreted and identified were as follows: gaining a positive attitude for life, wanting to be recognized as a woman with certain needs, considering body image/self-image, and making efforts to hide. The findings of the study point out the importance of the fact that illness elicits more than fitting the body into traditional community expectations or surrendering the body to professional medicine. Even with all the deep changes in their lives and changed life priorities, the women want to carry on and live the best life they could. To put this idea in the front line makes the difference for the transition of these women.
This article was published in Cancer Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine