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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Management of breast cancer pain in the home setting : a patient perspective Bartlett, Katharine Gail


This study's purpose was to describe, from their own perspective, the experience of individuals coping with metastatic breast cancer-related pain at home. Understanding how individuals cope on a day-to-day basis, in their natural setting, is essential in order to facilitate effective management of cancer pain in the home setting. Using a qualitative approach and multiple case study design, data was collected by means of unstructured, in-depth interviews with six female co-researchers. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts and field notes were analyzed for common themes, which were then reconstructed into a case study format and validated by the co-researchers. Finally, co-researcher accounts were integrated into one coherent description. This study adds an extensive description to existing literature, providing an explicit portrayal of the experiences lived by these women. There were many commonalities in their stories, yet each person's story was unique, with each woman managing cancer pain in their own way. This study suggests that women did not commonly achieve adequate pain relief through the use of medications. A multitude of factors, including the severity of medication side effects, influenced their decisions not to take increased doses of pain medications. However, women acted from a position of choice by electing to tolerate pain in order to maintain control of the life they valued. This study leaves little doubt that the impact of pain related to breast cancer is potentially devastating to a life. The challenge of describing and managing cancer pain effectively continues to be a serious problem for both professionals and individuals coping with breast cancer-related pain.

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