Feeling like me again: a grounded theory of the role of breast reconstruction surgery in self-image

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2013 Jul;22(4):493-502. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12055. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


The present study aimed to develop a theoretical understanding of the role of breast reconstruction in women's self-image. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 women from breast cancer support groups who had undergone breast reconstruction surgery. A grounded theory methodology was used to explore their experiences. The study generated a model of 'breast cancer, breast reconstruction and self-image', with a core category entitled 'feeling like me again' and two principal categories of 'normal appearance' and 'normal life'. A further two main categories, 'moving on' and 'image of sick person' were generated. The results indicated a role of breast reconstruction in several aspects of self-image including the restoration of pre-surgery persona, which further promoted adjustment.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / psychology*
  • Mastectomy / psychology*
  • Mastectomy / rehabilitation
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Concept*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom