Document Type : Research Article
Back ground / Purpose
Breast cancer is now the most common cancer among women in most urban areas in India and the second most common in the rural areas. The aim of the study was to examine the lived experiences of rural women with low socioeconomic backgrounds who have undergone mastectomies for breast cancer.
Method: Using a phenomenological method, semi-structured interviews were conducted that asked about knowledge, challenges, coping and spirituality with 23 rural women from low socio-economic status and agricultural backgrounds. The interviews were analyzed for themes that described their experiences. Several themes emerged from the data. These included ignorance about the disease, feelings of guilt, financial crisis, fear of change in intimate relationships, importance of spirituality, poor support systems and financial hard-ship.
Conclusion: In India, there are very few cancer studies on rural populations yet the incidence of cancer in this population is increasing. Future studies need to focus on the rural population in order to educate them about the disease and to assist access to treatment, and psychological support. Emotional distress and lack of knowledge could be addressed by psychosocial education. Community based approaches are needed to develop culturally appropriate interventions empowering the women and enhancing their self –efficacy.