Controlling fear: Jordanian women's perceptions of the diagnosis and surgical treatment of early stage breast cancer
Obeidat, Rana F.
MetadataShow full item record
Significance and background . Almost 60% of the new breast cancer cases among Jordanian women in 2009 were diagnosed at early stages of the disease (0-II). To date, there are no published studies on the perceptions of Jordanian women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer on their breast cancer and its treatment, care received in the healthcare system, patient-provider communication or their expectations of that communication. Purpose . To gain understanding of the diagnosis and surgical treatment experience of Jordanian women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Methodology . An interpretive phenomenological approach was used for this study. A purposive sample of 28 Jordanian women who were surgically treated for early stage breast cancer within 6 months of the interview was recruited. Data were collected using individual interviews and analyzed using the Heideggerian hermeneutical methodology. Results . Fear had a profound effect on Jordanian women's stories of diagnosis and surgical treatment of early stage breast cancer. Especially early after the diagnosis, fear was very strong and women lost perspective of the fact that this disease was treatable and potentially curable. To control their fears, women unconditionally trusted God, the health care system, surgeons, family, friends, and/or neighbors, and often accepted treatment offered by their surgeons without questioning. Fear changed over their illness trajectory, but not for all women. Those who experienced a change in their perceptions of breast cancer started to believe that it was like any chronic disease and not fatal. Conclusions . Jordanian women's experience with breast cancer and its treatment was shaped by their pre-existing fear of breast cancer, the disparity in the quality of care provided to them at different healthcare institutions, and sociodemographic factors (i.e., education, age, availability of and adequacy of social support). Implications for practice . More breast cancer education efforts at the community level are needed in Jordan with special attention given to remote and rural areas of the country. Jordanian healthcare providers at different treatment facilities have a responsibility to listen to their patients, explore meanings they ascribe to their illness, and provide women with proper education and support necessary to help them cope with their illness.