Accept Me for Myself: African American Women’s Issues After Breast Cancer

Margaret C. Wilmoth

L. Delores Sanders

breast neoplasms, psychosocial aspects, psychosocial

Purpose/Objectives: To identify the personal issues and concerns of African American women who are breast cancer survivors.

Design: Exploratory.

Setting: Southeastern United States; urban community.

Sample: A total of 24 women were recruited from churches and the community; 16 women participated in focus groups.

Methods: Two focus group sessions were held in a community library. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed and analyzed for themes that described issues the women had to deal with after treatment for breast cancer.

Main Research Variable: Women’s perceptions of the impact breast cancer had placed on their personal lives, including sexuality.

Findings: Five themes emerged—body appearance, social support, health activism, menopause, and learning to live with a chronic illness.

Conclusions: African American women have concerns that are similar to, but different from, those of Caucasian women. Further research is needed to identify culturally appropriate care.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Assess the effects of treatment on women’s personal lives. Know where women can purchase prostheses that match their skin tones. Refer minority women to support groups specifically designed for them.

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