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“From Patient to Survivor”

Women’s Experience With Breast Cancer After 5 Years

Fang, Su-Ying PhD; Lee, Kuo-Ting MD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000283

Background: Women who have survived breast cancer for 5 years without recurrence are not subject to active follow-up because of limited resources. Their life experiences more than 5 years subsequent to diagnosis and treatment are unknown.

Objective: The aim of this study was to understand the life experiences and care needs of women who have survived breast cancer for more than 5 years in Taiwan.

Methods: A purposive sampling was used. Women diagnosed with breast cancer more than 5 years previously and without recurrence were recruited in this study. The interviews were conducted in a comfortable and convenient place decided by the participants. The interviews were converted into transcripts and analyzed using content analysis.

Results: Thirteen women participated in this study whose ages were between 48 and 72 years. Five main themes were identified: (1) fear of recurrence, with women attempting to use ways to reduce recurrence, including dependence on drugs, desire for information, and promoting health; (2) hoping for alleviation of adverse effects; (3) seeking a body image; (4) expectations for the patient-physician relationship; (5) concerns of a mother; and (6) positive thinking.

Conclusions: Taiwanese women with post 5-year breast cancer survival continue to have physiological and emotional needs. They long for attention and care from their healthcare team.

Implications for Practice: It is pivotal to formulate a care plan suitable for 5-year-plus survivors of breast cancer and to assist them in gaining an understanding of the latest treatments and self-care information. It is crucial that nurses play a greater role in caring for long-term survivors.

Author Affiliations: Department of Nursing, College of Medicine (Dr Fang), and Department of Surgery (Dr Lee), National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Su-Ying Fang, PhD, Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, No. 1, University Rd, Tainan 701, Taiwan (

Accepted for publication April 24, 2015.

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