The psychosocial impact of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in black and south asian women.
PhD, University of the West of England.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/20099
- Accepted Version
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women of all ethnic groups. The diagnosis and treatment of the disease can be challenging and distressing for any individual. Research in this area has documented a range of physical, psychological and social consequences. However, very little work within the existing literature captures the experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women, especially in the UK. The limited available research, based on American studies, show that while similarities in White and BME women’s breast cancer experiences exist, there are also aspects that are unique and specific to BME women, which are influenced by socio-cultural norms, behaviours and beliefs. Therefore, the aim of this research was to explore the psychosocial impact of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in British Black and South Asian women.
To research this area, a qualitatively driven mixed method approach was adopted. Four studies were undertaken, 3 qualitative and 1 quantitative. The first study was exploratory in nature, in which semi-structured one-to-one interviews were carried out with 11 Black and 11 South Asian women. The findings of this study informed the subsequent studies, the second of which consisted of focus group interviews with 10 Black and 10 South Asian women to explore the ways in which breast cancer experiences are managed. The third study involved interviews with 5 South Asian Indian, Gujarati-speaking women (with limited English proficiency). The findings from these studies show that psychosocial and cultural factors (such as support, appearance concerns, healthcare experiences, cultural beliefs about cancer, understanding of cancer and language barriers) play an important role in shaping BME women’s experiences of breast cancer. These findings informed the development of the final questionnaire study. This study investigated the psychosocial impact of breast cancer and aimed to compare breast cancer experiences between White, Black and South Asian women. A total of 173 women participated (80 White, 40 Black and 53 South Asian). The results from this study show that psychological distress, social support and receiving chemotherapy treatment are associated with quality of life. Furthermore, similarities and differences in Black, South Asian and White women’s breast cancer experiences (in relation to psychological distress, quality of life, control beliefs (pertaining to cancer), body image concerns and sources of support) are evident.
The findings from this research highlight important implications for policy makers, healthcare professionals and researchers to enhance awareness and understanding, and to ensure the provision of culturally competent care and support to future breast cancer patients.
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