Living with breast cancer: Iranian women's lived experiences

Int Nurs Rev. 2012 Sep;59(3):362-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-7657.2012.00979.x. Epub 2012 Apr 5.


Background: Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. Women with breast cancer encounter many psychosocial stresses as well as physical problems.

Aim: To capture the meaning of living with breast cancer from the unique perspective and through the lived experiences of Iranian women with breast cancer that were explained with their own words.

Methods: A phenomenological approach was used to explore the meaning of living with breast cancer for Iranian women. The patients' feelings and lived experiences with breast cancer were investigated using semi-structured interviews with probing questions with 13 women between 34 and 67 years old.

Findings: The participants explained their experiences of living with breast cancer as losing something important, lack of confidence, living with fear, emotional dizziness and the need to be supported with the negative aspects of breast cancer and helped to explore new aspects of life as positive aspects of this event.

Conclusion and implications: Understanding the phenomenon of 'living with breast cancer' seems to be crucial for nurses to help women with breast cancer to find themselves in confronting the consequences of the changes associated with the illness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*