A changing identity: a focus group study of the experiences of women diagnosed with secondary breast cancer
evidence and practice    

A changing identity: a focus group study of the experiences of women diagnosed with secondary breast cancer

Ann Baker Secondary breast oncology clinical nurse specialist, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, South West Wales Cancer Centre, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, Wales
Ceri Phelps Director of psychology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea, Wales

Aim This aim of the study was to explore the information and support needs of women with secondary breast cancer (SBC).

Method A qualitative focus group study with 12 women aged 29-70 years with SBC was carried out in a UK hospital. Participants had secondary cancers in bone, brain, liver and lung.

Findings A thematic analysis revealed participants felt unsupported by the care system compared to the level of support they received as primary breast cancer patients. Three overarching themes reflected an immediate sense of loss of formal support on diagnosis of SBC, a changed identity and associated self-stigma, and the emotional effects of living with the knowledge that their cancer is incurable.

Conclusion Women living with SBC have specific support needs that must be better recognised by healthcare providers. The extent to which SBC nurses can meet these unmet needs should be evaluated.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2019.e1549

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

ceri.phelps@uwtsd.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Baker A, Phelps C (2019) A changing identity: a focus group study of the experiences of women diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2019.e1549

Published online: 31 January 2019