The hidden suffering among breast cancer patients: a qualitative metasynthesis

Qual Health Res. 2003 Apr;13(4):510-27. doi: 10.1177/1049732302250721.


The aim of this study was to review literature on how the lived experience of breast cancer and suffering was described in nursing/caring literature between 1990 and 2000, and to interpret and discuss the result from the perspective of suffering. The frequent reports of changing courses, called by various names, such as transition, transformation, transcendence, and finding meaning, were found as paths whereby the person regained integrity, balance, and wholeness. When findings were interpreted from the perspective of suffering and an ontological health model, actions, values, and existential concerns were understood as both expedients for alleviating suffering and a sign of the patient's inner struggle.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events*
  • Nursing Care
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Women's Health*