Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing July 12, 2017
Asia Pac J Oncol Nurs. 2017 Jul-Sep;4(3):250-258 OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify the experiences of breast cancer patients using external breast prostheses (EBP) in the context of the Pakistani society. METHODS: A qualitative descriptive exploratory design was used in the study. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 15 postmastectomy women using EBP. A semi-structured interview guide with open-ended questions was used for the interviews. The analysis of the data was organized into four categories according to the study questions including reasons for using EBP, feeling about EBP, challenges for using EBP, and coping with lost breast. Each category was further divided into subcategories. RESULTS: Women used EBP because they felt strange, incomplete, and embarrassed in front of other people, due to the asymmetrical shape of the chest after mastectomy. They faced several challenges with regard to obtaining and using the EBP. While EBP was used as an alternative of their lost breast, they experienced sadness and embarrassment. They found it challenging to take care of the EBP and were required to make changes in their lifestyle. However, they accepted living with their lost breast, either through rationalization, family support, or faith and prayers, which helped them to cope. CONCLUSIONS: The study findings have given insight into some real experiences of mastectomy patients. Mastectomy not only affects women's physical health but also their psychological health, as a result of which they become reluctant to socialize. Using EBP can help them to improve their body image and body posture. Health-care providers' support is very important to the families of the patients specifically where patients are very shy to openly seek information due to cultural constraints. PMID: 28695172 [PubMed - in process]

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