Younger women's experiences of deciding against delayed breast reconstruction post-mastectomy following breast cancer: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

J Health Psychol. 2016 Aug;21(8):1688-99. doi: 10.1177/1359105314562085. Epub 2014 Dec 16.


Most women do not reconstruct their breast(s) post-mastectomy. The experiences of younger women who maintain this decision, although important to understand, are largely absent in the research literature. This interview-based study uses interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore the experiences of six women, diagnosed with primary breast cancer in their 30s/40s, who decided against delayed reconstruction. Findings reported here focus on one superordinate theme (decision-making) from a larger analysis, illustrating that the women's drive to survive clearly influenced their initial decision-making process. Their tenacity in maintaining their decision is highlighted, despite non-reconstruction sometimes being presented negatively by medical teams. Patient-centred support recommendations are made.

Keywords: breast cancer; decision-making; interpretative phenomenological analysis; mastectomy; reconstruction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mammaplasty / psychology*
  • Mastectomy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research