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Controlling Fear: Jordanian Womens Perceptions of the Diagnosis and Surgical Treatment of Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Obeidat, Rana F. PhD, CNS, RN; Dickerson, Suzanne S. DNS, RN; Homish, Gregory G. PhD; Alqaissi, Nesreen M. PhD, MS, RN, CNS-cp; Lally, Robin M. PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e31826fc9b4
Articles

Background: Despite the fact that breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among Jordanian women, practically nothing is known about their perceptions of early-stage breast cancer and surgical treatment.

Objective: The objective of this study was to gain understanding of the diagnosis and surgical treatment experience of Jordanian women with a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer.

Methods: An interpretive phenomenological approach was used for this study. A purposive sample of 28 Jordanian women who were surgically treated for early-stage breast cancer within 6 months of the interview was recruited. Data were collected using individual interviews and analyzed using Heideggerian hermeneutical methodology.

Results: Fear had a profound effect on Jordanian women’s stories of diagnosis and surgical treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Women’s experience with breast cancer and its treatment was shaped by their preexisting fear of breast cancer, the disparity in the quality of care at various healthcare institutions, and sociodemographic factors (eg, education, age).

Conclusions: Early after the diagnosis, fear was very strong, and women lost perspective of the fact that this disease was treatable and potentially curable. To control their fears, women unconditionally trusted God, the healthcare system, surgeons, family, friends, and/or neighbors and often accepted treatment offered by their surgeons without questioning.

Implications for Practice: Jordanian healthcare providers have a responsibility to listen to their patients, explore meanings they ascribe to their illness, and provide women with proper education and the support necessary to help them cope with their illness.

Author Affiliations: Faculty of Nursing (Mrs Obeidat), Zarqa University, Jordan; School of Nursing (Drs Dickerson and Lally) and School of Public Health and Health Professions (Dr Homish), University at Buffalo, State University of New York; and Faculty of Nursing, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid (Dr Alqaissi).

This study was funded by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, School of Nursing, University at Buffalo, and Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund, World Bank Family Network Group.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Rana F. Obeidat, PhD, CNS, RN, Faculty of Nursing, Zarqa University, PO BOX 132222, Zarqa, 13132 Jordan (robeidat@buffalo.edu).

Accepted for publication August 17, 2012.

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