Understanding normality: A qualitative analysis of breast cancer patients concepts of normality after mastectomy and reconstructive surgery
ABSTRACT As survival rates increase, many people have to adjust to life after cancer. This includes adjusting to life after surgery. While previous research suggests that patients commonly strive to be 'normal' after mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, research surrounding individual perceptions of normality is lacking.
The aim of this study was to explore concepts of normality within a sample of breast cancer patients eligible for reconstructive surgery following mastectomy.
A total of 35 semi structured interviews, with women who had undergone or were about to undergo breast reconstructive surgery following breast cancer, were analysed using thematic analysis.
Four main themes emerged from the data. Women referred to looking normal (appearance); being able to fulfil everyday activities (behaviour); adapting to a new normal (reconstructing normality); and not being ill (health). The importance placed on each area of normality differed between patients. Additionally, patients used different standards to anchor concepts of normality. These included individual standards, social standards and clinical standards.
The results indicate that although there are commonalities between patients' concepts of normality, it is important for health care professionals to recognise potential individual differences. This may usefully aid communication and help to manage expectations among patients considering surgical options.
- SourceAvailable from: Rachael Lynn Wandrey
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- "Indeed, Duggal and colleagues also reported that body image appeared to be more motiving than sexuality or femininity for many women who decided to undergo reconstruction. However, regaining a sense of normalcy may also be an important motivator for BC patients who have undergone or who will undergo breast reconstruction and who have defined normalcy as including " looking normal " (Denford, Rubin, & Pusic, 2011). Other researchers have constructed a grounded theory model of the role of breast reconstruction in women's self-image following BC (McKean, Newman, & Adair, 2013), supporting the notion that breast reconstruction might largely be about reconstructing one's sense of normal. "
ABSTRACT: Sexual minority women are at a significantly greater risk for developing breast cancer (BC) than heterosexual women. Little is known about the unique BC experiences of lesbian women. The present thesis describes the findings of an inductive thematic analysis of messages posted to a large lesbian-specific discussion forum found on breastcancer.org. Fifteen themes were identified, including privileging sensation over appearance, experiencing heterosexism in medical contexts, believing others perceive a lack of distress over breast loss because of patient’s lesbian sexual orientation, feeling pressure from surgeons to get reconstructive surgery, and viewing the BC journey as a sexual-identity disclosure crisis. In addition, gender expression appeared to moderate the lesbian patients’ experiencese of BC. For instance, a theme identified among butch-or gender variant patients was enjoying or accepting that others were confused about their gender post-surgery. Femme-lesbian patients, in contrast, reported being frustrated about gender misidentification resulting from breast and hair loss.04/2015, Degree: MS, Supervisor: Katie E. Mosack, PhD.
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- "Recent research has indicated a relationship between breast reconstruction surgery and sense of normality. Denford et al. (2011) explored the concept of normality within women who were awaiting or had already undergone breast reconstruction surgery. The women considered surgery to relate to normality in: their physical appearance, ability to perform daily behaviours, 'adapting to a new normal' and health status. "
ABSTRACT: The present study aimed to develop a theoretical understanding of the role of breast reconstruction in women's self-image. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 women from breast cancer support groups who had undergone breast reconstruction surgery. A grounded theory methodology was used to explore their experiences. The study generated a model of 'breast cancer, breast reconstruction and self-image', with a core category entitled 'feeling like me again' and two principal categories of 'normal appearance' and 'normal life'. A further two main categories, 'moving on' and 'image of sick person' were generated. The results indicated a role of breast reconstruction in several aspects of self-image including the restoration of pre-surgery persona, which further promoted adjustment.European Journal of Cancer Care 06/2013; 22(4). DOI:10.1111/ecc.12055 · 1.76 Impact Factor
Conference Paper: Integrated Ka-Band Fin-Line Six-Port[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The design and performance of an integrated mm-wave 6-port is presented. The design uses Fin-Line technology and beam-lead diode detectors in a Ka-full-band application. The high precision measurement capability of the 6-port device has been verified in an automated 6-port network analyzer setup.Microwave Conference, 1985. 15th European; 10/1985