Purpose: To explore how family caregivers of women with breast cancer in Iran describe the areas in life which are important to their quality of life (QoL), and to determine which areas in life that are influenced by having a family member with breast cancer.
Methods: The study is descriptive and prospective. A total of 88 family caregivers of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer were interviewed using the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQoL-DW) at a time close to diagnosis and then again at 6 months after. Interviews were analyzed by manifest inductive qualitative content analysis.
Results: Areas related to the categories Own and Family health, and Relationships were considered to be the most important to QoL. A majority of the family caregivers reported that concerns categorised as Psychological impact had high influence on QoL shortly after diagnosis and the following six months. Other areas that were frequently mentioned at both time points were categorized as Focus on family health, Concerns about the disease, and Change in family relationship. Positive aspects in life were also reported as a consequence to the breast cancer diagnosis.
Conclusions: High psychological impact is a concern of family caregivers six months after diagnosis of breast cancer. It is imperative that family caregivers are given early attention, and the opportunity to express their perceptions and needs, as this may lead to a better understanding of their experience, thus providing guidance for supportive interventions.
Keywords: Breast cancer; Family caregivers; Psychological impact; Quality of life; SEIQoL-DW.
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