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Sexual identity following breast cancer treatments in premenopausal women
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Nursing Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Nursing Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1588-135X
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 3, no 3, 185-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The phenomenon in focus for this study was the sexual identity preserved in premenopausal women due to breast cancer treatments. During the last decade the methods of breast cancer treatments have become more aggressive and many women have had to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, as well as three to five years of hormone therapy. All these forms of treatment can have negative side effects on their sexual capability. The purpose of this study was to describe the meaning structure and the constituents of sexual identity in the lifeworld of premenopausal women. Six informants who had become menopausal following cancer treatment were interviewed about their experiences related to their sexual identity. Their ages varied between 38 and 48 years. The empirical phenomenological psychological (EPP) method was used. The meaning structure of the phenomenon could be symbolized using the metaphor of a bird which is pinioned and unable to fly. The women perceived their sexual identity as being inhibited in different ways. They felt odd and marginalized as women, and it was only within a support group that they felt completely confirmed. A future challenge for the health care professionals would be to care for their patients on the basis of their lifeworld experiences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 3, no 3, 185-192 p.
Keyword [en]
Breast cancer, lived experience, premenopausal, sexuality identity
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-42803DOI: 10.1080/17482620802130399Local ID: 68903OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-42803DiVA: diva2:263660
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sexuality in the aftermath of breast and prostate cancer: Gendered experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sexuality in the aftermath of breast and prostate cancer: Gendered experiences
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Sexuality is a sensitive topic in health care and is often interpreted through a natural scientific lens as just corresponding to sexual dysfunction and fertility problems. The purpose of this thesis was to describe sexuality and its outcomes in two cancer populations. Women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer in all stages were invited to participate. In this thesis, these two populations are restricted to age groups between 45 and 65 years, since there are reasons to believe that younger people are more vulnerable to sexuality changes. Lifeworld, gender, and sexuality are three concepts of importance in this thesis and they are used from the viewpoint of nursing care.

Phenomenological interviews (I, III) and focus group interviews (II, IV) were carried out with a total number of 46 informants. The EPP-method (Empirical Phenomenological Psychological) was used (I, III) in order to grasp the lived experience, and qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the seven focus groups (II, IV).

The lifeworld experiences of those women and men were comparable. The changes brought by the cancer and its treatment were a threat to their very existence, their existential base of knowledge had gone and alienation occurred (I, III). For the women, this was illustrated through the metaphor of a bird which is pinioned and unable to fly anymore. For the men it was expressed in the essential meaning “to lose the elixir of life”. Both women and men suffered, sexuality changed from one day to another and they handled it individually. Changed body appearance, and feeling old and unattractive were, for the women, the dominating features, whilst for the men changed desire and erection problems were their main concerns. The findings from the group discussions (II, IV) elucidate the gendered differences in these two contexts. The aim of the women was to look healthy and attractive and for the men the ability to have an erection was important. Neither of these two groups of people was able to meet their aims. On the other hand, being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease they were not in a position to claim preserved sexuality. This opens up existential questions that need to be confirmed in health care. To succeed in this, a change of perspective is required in health care. It should be possible to use human science to the same extent as natural science in health care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 71 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1263
Keyword
Breast cancer, prostate cancer sexuality, gender, lifeworld, psycho social oncology
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72339 (URN)978-91-7393-064-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-12-16, Berzeliussalen, Universitetssjukhuset, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-11-25 Created: 2011-11-25 Last updated: 2013-09-12Bibliographically approved

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Klaeson, KickiBerterö, Carina

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