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Constructing understandings, renegotiating lives : women's experiences of arm morbidity after breast cancer

This research explores womens experiences of arm morbidity after breast cancer. Biomedical knowledge about arm morbidity is limited and often unclear, and there has been even less focus on the health issue from a sociological perspective. While studies do exist about the experiences of arm morbidity, more investigation is required to realize its influence on the daily lives of breast cancer survivors. The purpose of my research is to convey constructed meanings of arm morbidity experiences to indicate the impact it has on womens everyday lives.<p>
Qualitative data were collected via twelve in-depth, semi-structured interviews, as six participants were each interviewed twice. The interviews were focused on a broad range of themes in order to create a comprehensive understanding of the womens experiences of arm morbidity in their daily lives. Phenomenological and feminist approaches were both used to guide the research process and analyze the data, and a range of sociological ideas also informed the analysis, such as chronic illness, disability, gender roles, and embodiment.<p>
The illness narratives produced two broad areas relevant to the womens experiences. The first major topic involves the meanings directly related to experiences of arm morbidity as a health issue, and is divided into four themes: 1) experiencing bodies with arm morbidity, 2) treatment, 3) information and knowledge, and 4) support. The second major topic involves understandings of arm morbidity as it affects the womens lives, in which three themes emerge: 1) changing abilities and adjusting roles, 2) identity and health, and 3) the influence of illness on approaches to life.<p>
As existing research is sparse, the womens narratives present a new level of depth to understandings of arm morbidity experiences that does not exist in current literature. It is evident that more study about arm morbidity is necessary to construct important knowledge and benefit both biological and sociological understandings of this survivorship issue.
Date19 January 2009
CreatorsSchell, Kara
ContributorsWotherspoon, Terry, Thomas-MacLean, Roanne, Poudrier, Jennifer, Goodridge, Donna
PublisherUniversity of Saskatchewan
Source SetsUniversity of Saskatchewan Library
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rightsunrestricted, I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to University of Saskatchewan or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.

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