The experience of mastectomy patients on the 23-hour pathway
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

The experience of mastectomy patients on the 23-hour pathway

Alison Woods Macmillan breast cancer nurse specialist, The Rose Centre, St George’s Hospital, London, England
Chris McNamara Lecturer practitioner, Royal Marsden School, London, England

Aim To explore the experiences of women with breast cancer undergoing a mastectomy and discharge from hospital within 23 hours of their stay.

Method A qualitative phenomenological hermeneutic approach using semi-structured interviews. A purposive sample of ten women were recruited from the breast unit in a single centre over five months identified by the breast care team.

Findings Six patients discharged within 23 hours had a positive experience of the pathway. However, four did not complete the pathway and had a negative experience. Main themes were initial reactions to the 23-hour pathway, surgery and inpatient experiences, experiences across the whole pathway, coping and the effect of the support network.

Conclusion Although the 23-hour pathway is safe and effective it may not meet the individual needs of all patients and does not offer a person-centred care approach. It may be possible to identify patients prospectively who are likely to have a negative experience and target support or amend the pathway to improve their experience.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2018.e1496


Woods A, McNamara C (2018) The experience of mastectomy patients on the 23-hour pathway. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2018.e1496

Peer review

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


Conflict of interest

None declared


I would like to thank Dibyesh Banerjee as chief investigator (Breast Unit St George’s Hospital) and the patients who participated in the study, without whom this research would not have been possible

Published online: 02 October 2018

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