Same-day breast cancer surgery: a qualitative study of women's lived experiences

Oncol Nurs Forum. 2010 Mar;37(2):E92-7. doi: 10.1188/10.ONF.E92-E97.


Purpose/objectives: To understand the experiences of women having same-day breast cancer surgery and make recommendations to assist healthcare professionals effect change to enhance quality of care.

Research approach: Thematic analysis of audiotaped interviews.

Setting: Outpatient departments of two city hospitals on the east coast of Canada.

Participants: Purposive sample of 13 women who had undergone same-day breast cancer surgery.

Methodologic approach: A constructivist approach with in-depth interviews and comparative analysis to develop and systemically organize data into four major interrelated themes and a connecting essential thread.

Main research variables: Women's experiences with same-day breast cancer surgery.

Findings: The themes of preparation, timing, supports, and community health nursing intervention were of paramount importance for effective coping and recovery. Women who had a positive experience with same-day breast cancer surgery also reported having adequate preparation, appropriate timing of preparation, strong support systems, and sufficient community health nursing intervention. Those reporting a negative experience encountered challenges in one or more of the identified theme areas.

Conclusions: Same-day surgery is a sign of the times, and the approach to it is changing. Healthcare systems need to be responsive to such changes. Although same-day surgery for breast cancer is not suitable for every patient, women undergoing this type of surgery should be assessed individually to determine whether it is appropriate for them.

Interpretation: Women undergoing breast cancer surgery should be screened for same-day surgery suitability. Those having same-day breast cancer surgery should be prepared adequately with timely education. Most importantly, such women should receive community health nursing follow-up for assessment, continuing education, and psychosocial support.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / nursing*
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / nursing
  • Breast Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Community Health Nursing*
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Oncology Nursing*
  • Perioperative Nursing
  • Social Support