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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 141-150

Psychosocial Experiences, Challenges, And Coping Strategies Of Chinese–Australian Women With Breast Cancer


Psycho-Oncology Research Group, Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Correspondence Address:
PhD Afaf Girgis
Psycho-Oncology Research Group, Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney
Australia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/apjon.apjon_53_19

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Objective: Chinese migrant women with breast cancer are at risk of poorer psychosocial outcomes. However, little is known about the cancer-related challenges experienced by these women, or how they self-manage their concerns. This qualitative study aims to explore the experience of breast cancer for Chinese–Australian women and gain insight into their coping behaviors. Methods: Twenty-four Chinese–Australian women, previously diagnosed with breast cancer, participated in a semi-structured interview or focus group session, conducted in the participant's preferred language. Qualitative data were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Three main themes emerged, reflecting the psychological impact of the diagnosis, the challenges experienced, and the use of social support and other coping behaviors. The theme of psychological impact highlighted the emotional toll of diagnosis and the ongoing anxiety surrounding the fear of cancer recurrence. The theme of challenges identified stressors relating to treatment side effects and the need for psychological support. The social support and coping theme identified the various levels of social support participants received and how Chinese–Australian women may limit their use of social support to protect others. Participants used several behavioral (e.g., diet and exercise) and cognitive (e.g., reframing) strategies to cope with their cancer experience. Conclusions: Chinese–Australian women with breast cancer face significant challenges that impact on their psychological well-being. Varying levels of social support, and the desire to protect others through self-sacrifice, may reflect the cultural expectations of women. The results highlight the need for cultural understanding when developing strategies that optimally support Chinese migrant women with breast cancer.


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