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An Interpretive Description of Chemotherapy-Induced Premature Menopause Among Latinas With Breast Cancer

Maryellen D. Brisbois

breast cancer, chemotherapy, cultural competence, Hispanic, menopausal symptoms, survivorship
ONF 2014, 41(5), E282-E289. DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.E282-E289

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the experience of chemotherapy-induced premature menopause (CIPM) among Latinas, explore how CIPM was assimilated into the breast cancer experience, and relate measured acculturation levels to the CIPM experience.

Research Approach: Interpretive descriptive method from a feminist inquiry lens.

Setting: Telephone interviews with participants from 12 states in the United States.

Participants: 20 Latinas who experienced CIPM after treatment for breast cancer.

Methodologic Approach: In-depth interviews and the Brief Acculturation Scale for Hispanics were used to elicit data, with interpreter assistance as needed.

Findings: One overarching theme, Bigger Than Menopause, and three subthemes, Experiencing Menopause, Ever-Changing Landscape, and Working Through the Experience, were found. Participants' ability to assimilate CIPM into the breast cancer experience was affected by the magnitude of physiologic and psychosocial effects, access to health care, information and support, sense of control, and acculturation level.

Conclusions: The CIPM experience for Latinas with breast cancer is multifaceted, with less acculturated Latinas facing multiple barriers in accessing health care, treatment, information, and support.

Interpretation: Participants described CIPM as part of a larger context that included physiologic and psychosocial effects and affected participants' ability to assimilate CIPM into the breast cancer experience. The impact of low acculturation and barriers experienced were elucidated as factors associated with assimilating CIPM into the breast cancer experience.

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