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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Psychological preparedness for breast cancer surgery Cerna, Zuzana


This study explores the facilitation of preparation for breast cancer surgery. The aim of the study was to develop a reasonably comprehensive scheme of categories that would describe, from the perspective of women with breast cancer, what facilitates or hinders positive psychological preparation for breast cancer surgery and, therefore, identify and conceptually organize a broad array of these experiences. The research method involved interviews with 30 women who underwent an operation for breast cancer 6-12 months prior to their interviews. The Critical Incident Technique was used to collect and analyze the data. The women were interviewed and asked to recall incidents that were helpful or hindering in their preparation for a breast cancer surgery. A total of 362 incidents from 30 participants were collected, analyzed, and placed into categories. These incidents were organized into twenty-three categories: Receiving Educational Materials and/or Information; Obtaining an Explanation of Medical Procedures or Problems; Discussing Problems with Loved One; Getting Support and Encouragement from Others; Being Accompanied to a Medical Appointment; Helping Others; Engaging Oneself in Physical and Creative Activities; Developing Helpful Habits; Taking Action on Realizing Own Mortality; Experiencing Physical Closeness; Experiencing Deep Emotional Closeness; Realizing Shift in Relationship with Loved Ones; Healing Through Spiritual Experience and Visualization; Changing Perspective Through Comparison; Using Inspiring, Comforting Material; Getting Alternative Treatment; Establishing Professional Communication; Waiting for Medical Results; Sharing Experiences in Support Groups and Counseling; Perceiving Professional Manners; Experiencing Positive Medical Settings; Getting a Recommendation/Approval of Medical Personnel, Questioning Competence of Medical Care or Personnel. The data also included information about participants' decision-making process regarding the type of operation for breast cancer and some observations on them were drawn. Several procedures were used to examine validity, soundness and trustworthiness of the categories and subcategories. Three narrative accounts were analyzed in an effort to provide meaning and action to these categories. The findings of this study may serve as a basis for better understanding of the process of preparation for breast cancer surgery. Through further examination of the categories and narratives some suggestions and recommendation for research and practice were made.

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