Introduction From the diagnosis of breast cancer (BC), changes and adaptations are required in all the aspects of daily life in patients. The quality of life (QOL) during and after treatment of BC is an objective as important as the overall survival. Self image and body image are important caracteristics of the QOL in BC patients, especially when breasts are symbols of feminity and maternity. They are often overlooked by healthcare professionals. We aim to study the adaptative changes in self and body image among young women after BC surgery.
Methods A qualitative study was carried out until saturation occurrences among young BC patients. We included all sexually active women under 40 who had breast cancer surgery at our department during the last 2 years, from january to july 2022. In-depth semi-structured interviews with three axes: the diagnosis of BC, the fight against cancer and Self and body image after breast surgery were scheduled at participants concienience.
Results Four themes were identified : the emotional crisis following breast surgery ; some participants had described the importance of spirituality and beliefs; others emphasized the need to have the support of their family and spouses in addition to caregivers and their informative and educational roles of source of information and education. Finally, bodily changes experienced by participants and their impact on their self-image with three sub-themes: sexual satisfaction, attribution andself-esteem.
Conclusion/Implications Knowledge of the changes in women’s self and body image after BC surgery is important to help improve their QOL.
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