Partner experiences of breast reconstruction post mastectomy
Sandham , C. and Harcourt , D. (2007) Partner experiences of breast reconstruction post mastectomy. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 11 (1). pp. 66-73. ISSN 1462-3889
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2006.05.004
The aim of this small-scale, qualitative study was to explore partners' experiences of breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Interviews with 6 men, analysed using thematic analysis identified key themes of Involvement in the Decision-Making Process, Giving and Seeking Support, Opportunity to Talk, and Adapting Behaviour. Whilst most participants wanted to be involved in the decision-making process, they reported having experienced barriers to this, including difficulty in talking to others and expressing their true feelings about the surgery. Participants described difficulties with intimate contact after their partner had undergone surgery due to reactions to the appearance and feel of the reconstructed breast and a fear of hurting their partner and of reopening scars. This study highlights the need to recognise the role of the partner's involvement and of their own experiences during this time. The findings are of value to healthcare professionals, in particular specialist nurses, who work with women undergoing breast reconstruction and indicate areas where further research is needed.