Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Health, from a holistic perspective, is more than physical well-being. The experience and treatment of breast cancer has an impact beyond physical health, with psychological, social, and spiritual factors playing a role in wellness. Physically, treatment such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy often have disruptive side effects such as, fatigue, breast soreness, nausea, vomiting, hair loss and weight gain, as well as the possibility of losing one or both breasts (Mustain et al., 2002). Psychologically and emotionally, women may experience anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, fear and repression, psychological distress and persistent fears of recurrence (Glanz & Lerman, 1992). The goal of the study was to promote holistic understanding regarding women’s experience of breast cancer. 101 breast cancer survivors in Ontario completed a quantitative survey that was developed with the participation of women with breast cancer, and included measures of quality of life, mental adjustment to cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-transcendence. The findings indicate that lifestyle choices, socio-demographic variables and breast cancer history and treatment all play a role in predicting quality of life. Specifically, women who exercise frequently, live alone and are significantly involved in volunteering and breast cancer support and advocacy have a better quality of life. Increasing age and experiencing post-treatment lymphedema were consistently associated with poorer quality of life. The findings have implications for women’s post-treatment lifestyle choices, as well as post-treatment service and support needs of breast cancer survivors.
Yakiwchuk, Christine, "Embracing life after breast cancer: Exploring the holistic health of survivors" (2007). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 795.