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"Struggling to Accept the New Breast as Part of My Body" - The Challenge of Immediate Breast Reconstruction in Women With Breast Cancer

 Jeehee Han  ;  Juhye Jin  ;  Sanghee Kim  ;  Dong Won Lee  ;  Sue Kim 
 CANCER NURSING, Vol.45(4) : 262-270, 2022-07 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adaptation, Psychological ; Breast Neoplasms* / surgery ; Female ; Grounded Theory ; Humans ; Mammaplasty* ; Republic of Korea
Background: Women have difficulties in making decisions and experiences an unexpectedly long recovery period after immediate breast reconstruction. There are still many limitations in understanding the overall changes in life experienced by women with breast cancer before and after immediate breast reconstruction.

Objective: This study aimed to explore the challenges experienced by women with breast cancer undergoing immediate breast reconstruction and how they coped with these problems.

Methods: Strauss and Corbin's grounded theory design was used. In-depth face-to-face individual interviews were undertaken with 11 women with breast cancer from 4 hospitals in Korea. Data collection and analysis were conducted simultaneously, using the constant comparative method.

Results: The core category was "struggling to accept the new breast as part of my body." "Decision making regarding immediate breast reconstruction" was the initial step, followed by "facing the changed breasts after surgery." The challenge of "living with the new breasts" slowly merged into "making up my mind to accept my breasts with gratitude."

Conclusion: Women with breast cancer undergoing immediate breast reconstruction struggled to accept the new breast as part of their body, and some reached a measure of closure and acceptance with gratitude.

Implication for practice: Nurses can apply findings by recognizing the experiences, perceptions, and needs of women; providing patients with sufficient information on the whole process; and offering continuous supportive care to facilitate the coping process. In addition, nurses should consider a variety of approaches that help women to integrate their changed bodies into their self-concept and self-image and restore a sense of normality.
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Appears in Collections:
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (성형외과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
3. College of Nursing (간호대학) > Dept. of Nursing (간호학과) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Sanghee(김상희) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9806-2757
Kim, Sue(김수) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3785-2445
Lee, Dong Won(이동원) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0046-3139
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