“So, when a woman becomes ill, the total structure of the family is affected, they can’t do anything…” Voices from the community on women with breast cancer in India: a qualitative focus group study
Daniel, Sunitha; Venkateswaran, Chitra; Singh, Charu; Hutchinson, Ann; Johnson, Miriam J.
Dr Ann Hutchinson Ann.Hutchinson@hull.ac.uk
Professor Miriam Johnson Miriam.Johnson@hull.ac.uk
Background: Psychological symptoms are common in women with breast cancer and profoundly affect their role in the family and wider community, varying across cultural backgrounds. Breast cancer is becoming the most common cancer among women in India. We aimed to understand the cultural context within which Indian women with breast cancer living in India, experience psychological concerns from the perspectives of healthcare professionals, volunteers and church members. Methods: Five focus groups were conducted in South India (clinicians (2 groups)) lay public (3 groups). A topic guide was explored: understanding of breast cancer, experiences of patients with regard to diagnosis and treatment and psychological impact. Groups were audio-recorded and verbatim transcribed. Lay groups were conducted in Malayalam with translation and back-translation. Transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis using “cultural task analysis” as a lens for analysis. Results: Forty-five (oncologists (5), nurses (10), church members (16) and community volunteers working in a palliative care unit (14)participated. Three major themes psychosocial issues related to diagnosis, psychosocial impact of cancer treatment and coping with diagnosis and treatment and nine subthemes emerged from the two groups. All described psychological impact on women with breast cancer including body image, change of family role and their need for support. Family and faith were recognised as the major framework providing key support but also significant stress. Clinicians were also concerned about financial implications and issues around early cancer detection. Laypeople and nurses also commented that poor communication and lack of empathy from doctors aggravated distress. Conclusion: Clinical and lay communities were aware of the widespread psychological impact affecting women with breast cancer which are amplified by the patriarchal context within which they live, which extends into clinical practice. Family and faith provide a strong support structure and are a cause of distress, as core roles and expectations are challenged by this disease of womanhood.
Daniel, S., Venkateswaran, C., Singh, C., Hutchinson, A., & Johnson, M. J. (in press). “So, when a woman becomes ill, the total structure of the family is affected, they can’t do anything…” Voices from the community on women with breast cancer in India: a qualitative focus group study. Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06475-4
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Acceptance Date||Jul 27, 2021|
|Online Publication Date||Aug 22, 2021|
|Deposit Date||Jul 28, 2021|
|Publicly Available Date||Aug 23, 2021|
|Journal||Supportive Care in Cancer|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|Keywords||Breast neoplasms; Psychological; Distress; Indian; Body image; Hair loss; Patriarchy; Family; Culture|
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