Coping Strategies and Experiences in Women with a Primary Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of midwifery and reproductive health, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of midwifery, faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical science, Tabriz, Iran

3 Department of Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran Iran


Background: Women with breast cancer experience problems in multiple aspects of their lives, but applying effective strategies can result in enhancing their quality of life and their psychosocial adaptation to the disease. However, there is little information about the strategies that women use to cope with complications associated with their experiences following a breast cancer diagnosis. Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the experience of coping behavior and the main strategies that women use in dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. Methods: This study was conducted according to a qualitative phenomenological design to investigate women’s experiences in living with breast cancer and the related complications and how they cope with these issues. Purposive sampling was used for recruiting participants with breast cancer, and data collection was conducted by semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 22 patients. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using Van Manen’s thematic approach. Results: The age range of the women was 32-68. Most were married and received adjuvant therapy (i.e., mastectomy surgery and chemo-radiation). Three dominant themes that emerged from the interviews were emotional turmoil, avoidance, and logical efforts. Conclusion: The findings highlight the importance of addressing psycho-oncology intervention programs to address the unmet pyscho-social and palliative care needs of patients suffering from breast cancer.


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