Recognition of the importance of self-management (SM) for breast cancer survivors (BCSs) is increasing, but evidence from investigations of their needs focusing on SM is limited.
The aim of this study was to explore the SM needs of BCSs who had completed treatment.
Using a qualitative study design, we interviewed a focus group of 20 BCSs who underwent cancer therapy (mean time since diagnosis 3.4 years) at a university hospital in South Korea. Data were analyzed via conventional content analysis.
The focus group interviews revealed 10 subthemes that we organized into 5 themes about the posttreatment SM needs of BCSs: (1) symptom management needs, (2) emotional management needs, (3) information acquisition needs, (4) need for a relationship with healthcare providers, and (5) adaptation needs. Specifically, participants needed to acquire SM skills to relieve symptoms (eg, peripheral neuropathy, insomnia), deal with emotional problems (eg, fear of recurrence, anxiety, depression), and adapt to changes due to cancer treatment (eg, body image, lifestyle, and role changes). In particular, participants expressed a substantial need for a constructive relationship with healthcare providers who, by respecting and communicating with them, would help empower them. Participants placed a high value on building self-confidence for successful SM.
Our findings can contribute to the development of breast cancer survivorship care plans by emphasizing posttreatment SM.
Future SM support intervention for BCSs after treatment should focus on training SM skills, enhancing the survivor-provider relationship, and building survivor self-confidence.
Author Affiliations: Departments of Nursing (Drs S. H. Kim, Park, and Mrs Han) and Surgery, Inha University Hospital and School of Medicine, Inha University (Drs S. J. Kim and Hur); and Women's Cancer Center, Inha University Hospital (Mrs Han), Incheon, South Korea; and College of Nursing, The Research Institute of Nursing Science, Catholic University of Daegu, South Korea (Dr Lee).
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education (grant 2016R1D1A1B04932171).
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Soo Hyun Kim, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, Inha University, 100 Inha-ro, Nam-gu, Incheon, South Korea (email@example.com).
Accepted for publication June 7, 2018.