A qualitative study of decision-making by breast cancer patients about telling their children about their illness

Saran Yoshida, Hiroyuki Otani, Kei Hirai, Akiko Ogata, Asuka Mera, Shiho Okada, Akira Oshima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective Many breast cancer patients are troubled about telling their school-age children about their illness. However, little attention has been paid to the factors that encourage or discourage them from revealing the illness. This study explored decision-making by breast cancer patients about telling their children about their illness. Methods Participants were 30 breast cancer patients recruited from a regional cancer institution in Japan. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and content analysis was performed. Results Six preparatory stages of decision-making by Japanese breast cancer patients about telling their children about their illness were identified as follows: contemplation, preparation, action-hospitalization and surgery, actionadjuvant therapy, action-diagnosis, and action-prognosis. We also identified 11 categories of positive aspects and ten categories of negative aspects about revealing their illness to children. The categories of negative aspects with higher frequency were similar to those found by previous research, but categories of positive aspects were unique. The rate of reference to negative aspects in total reduces gradually as the preparatory stage advances, and in action-diagnosis and action-prognosis stages the balance between positive and negative aspects becomes about half and half.Conclusions Patients, especially in action-hospitalization and surgery, can be expected to tell their children about their illness although they find negative aspects much more compelling than positive aspects and experience great distress. These patients have special needs for support from others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Children
  • Communication
  • Illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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