Coping Mechanisms Among Long-term Survivors of Breast and Cervical Cancers in Mumbai, India


Accumulated evidence indicates that the positive coping means a good quality of life, which will contribute ‍significantly to improvement in the prognosis. In low resource settings, it is a challenge for medical teams and ‍patient families to provide psychological and emotional support throughout the fight against the disease. This paper ‍appraises coping mechanisms among the long-term survivors of breast and cervical cancers in Mumbai. Women ‍surviving for at least five years were extracted from the Bombay cancer registry patient index for evaluation: a ‍simple and locally developed instrument was used for In-depth Interviews (IDI’s) at patient residences. A total of 80 ‍survivors were interviewed but only findings for 52 subjects with complete information are presented in this paper. ‍Parameters were studied in the order of personal, psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual well being of the ‍patients. The analysis is mostly descriptive in its nature: qualitative analysis techniques (free listing and clustering) ‍were adopted to present the data. Positive thinking, purpose in life, and strong family support played key roles in ‍achieving completion of treatment then prolonging survival. An appropriative health seeking behaviour, good general ‍medication, and emotional support from friends and family members were revealed to be very important factors for ‍coping capably. An unmet need for knowledge of symptoms was identified, which suggests that appropriate messages ‍should be generated to reach women in conventional families. Despite the small sample size, our findings broadly ‍provide a base for large-scale future studies and suggest gaps to be filling in counselling interventions in Mumbai.