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“It’s All About Balance…” Women’s Experience of Having One Breast

Williams, Katherine Jayne (2017) “It’s All About Balance…” Women’s Experience of Having One Breast. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University & Keele University.

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Abstract or description

The aim of this thesis is to explore the experiences of women who have one breast, or who have the potential to be left with one breast, following a mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer.
Paper 1 is a qualitative literature review that explores women’s decisions to have a breast reconstruction or a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) following a diagnosis of breast cancer. Through their decisions to have elective surgery, women avoid the possibility of having to manage a life with one breast. Twelve papers were critically appraised and synthesised using a thematic analysis. Women processed their decisions in similar ways irrespective of the surgical procedure. A breast reconstruction or CPM enabled women to move on from having cancer.
Paper 2 is an empirical research paper that explores the experiences of seven women who have one breast after having a mastectomy. Women were interviewed and transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. After having a mastectomy, breasts were experienced to lose their meaning in a way that a reconstructed breast could not replace. Women described their experiences of using a breast prosthesis which served to restore women’s physical and social selves. Women focused on aspects of their lives which they valued over the loss of their breast. This enabled them to move on from cancer without having a breast reconstruction.
Paper 3 provides a reflective commentary on Papers 1 and 2 which describes the ethical and methodological processes of conducting this research. The researcher reflects on her own positon within a breast cancer culture.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 13:07
Last Modified: 16 May 2018 13:12

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