Changing Horizons: Breast cancer, young women and their families
MetadataShow full item record
Living through a diagnosis of breast cancer can be extraordinarily traumatic. The response is heightened for the younger woman as she seeks to understand why this has happened to her at this early stage of life. While breast cancer is often associated with older women, 25 % of new breast cancer diagnoses in Australia in the year 2000 were in young women. An interpretive study drawing on feminist epistemology using in-depth interviews provides valuable insight into the lived experience of six young Queensland women living with breast cancer, and their families. This paper presents insight into the experience and subjectivity of breast cancer with a particular focus on young women and what it means for them to have the condition at a younger age and the impact it has on their ordinary social situation. The qualitative data supports previous research identifying a diagnosis of breast cancer for younger women is likely to cause greater emotional distress than for older women and that concerns in relation to motherhood, family and fertility are particularly important. In addition the study showed that a specialist breast care nurse is an important resource for young women at the time of diagnosis and that family centered care should be at the core of health professionals' business. In many respects younger women face a tougher reality having greater responsibility for the well being of others in their family and in the provision of stability for everyday family life.
International Council on Women's Health Issues Congress
© The Author(s) 2006 Griffith University. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. It is posted here with permission of the copyright owner for your personal use only. No further distributions permitted. For information about this conference please contact the author.