“Everything happened so quickly” Living through events immediately before and after initial breast cancer diagnosis: an exploratory study of the experiences of a group of women in Cape Town, South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    This article provides information on an aspect of the author’s research on colored women’s experiences of breast cancer and deals specifically with events immediately before and after the initial diagnosis. The experiences of this group of South African women have remained largely undocumented. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 30 colored women. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed using thematic content analysis. The main themes that emerged relate to the discovery of the lump, reaction time, response to diagnosis, the question of whether a lumpectomy or a mastectomy should be conducted, counseling and family reactions. The findings show, inter alia, that these women are not accorded sufficient time to deal with the magnitude of the diagnosis and that access to appropriate counseling is insufficient. This study has implications for health professionals and for women in general and suggests further areas of investigation within the field of breast cancer research.