Beyond body image

the experience of breast cancer.

Marlene Z Cohen, D. L. Kahn, R. H. Steeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the mental and emotional impact of treatment for breast cancer with a focus on the ways the body is experienced. DESIGN: Phenomenologic, descriptive, and interpretive. SETTING: An outpatient treatment area of a comprehensive cancer center in the southwestern United States. SAMPLE: 20 women, ages 20-68 (mean = 50 years), who had mastectomies (including both modified radical mastectomies and lumpectomies, with some having reconstruction) for breast cancer. METHODS: Content analysis of verbatim transcriptions of open-ended interviews using hermeneutic phenomenology and descriptive and interpretive presentation of a paradigm case. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Reaction to breast cancer and its treatment. FINDINGS: Informants' descriptions demonstrate that the body can be viewed as having three aspects: (a) the body as symbol or social expression (i.e., how bodies make a social statement and tell others who you are); (b) the body as a way of being in the world, including sensations and symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and pain; and (c) the existential sense that one needs a body to be in the world (i.e., the body expresses existence), which led to more awareness of the possibility of death. CONCLUSIONS: Women treated for breast cancer view their bodies in ways that go beyond what is suggested by the literature on body image and breast cancer, encompassing a wide range of responses. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: The contribution of this study is the documentation of the complexity of the meaning of "body" for women with breast cancer. Appropriate interventions differ for each aspect of the body: for the body as social symbol, programs such as Look Good ... Feel Better or image centers; for the body's sensations and symptoms, information about what to expect and about symptom prevention and management; for the existential body, active listening to fears and concerns and providing assistance as needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-841
Number of pages7
JournalOncology nursing forum
Volume25
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 1998

Fingerprint

Body Image
Breast Neoplasms
Southwestern United States
Modified Radical Mastectomy
Segmental Mastectomy
Mastectomy
Documentation
Nausea
Fear
Fatigue
Nursing
Outpatients
Therapeutics
Interviews
Pain
Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)

Cite this

Cohen, M. Z., Kahn, D. L., & Steeves, R. H. (1998). Beyond body image: the experience of breast cancer. Oncology nursing forum, 25(5), 835-841.

Beyond body image : the experience of breast cancer. / Cohen, Marlene Z; Kahn, D. L.; Steeves, R. H.

In: Oncology nursing forum, Vol. 25, No. 5, 01.06.1998, p. 835-841.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cohen, MZ, Kahn, DL & Steeves, RH 1998, 'Beyond body image: the experience of breast cancer.', Oncology nursing forum, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 835-841.
Cohen MZ, Kahn DL, Steeves RH. Beyond body image: the experience of breast cancer. Oncology nursing forum. 1998 Jun 1;25(5):835-841.
Cohen, Marlene Z ; Kahn, D. L. ; Steeves, R. H. / Beyond body image : the experience of breast cancer. In: Oncology nursing forum. 1998 ; Vol. 25, No. 5. pp. 835-841.
@article{7afd0b65a2a4443388ae3993b86f7733,
title = "Beyond body image: the experience of breast cancer.",
abstract = "PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the mental and emotional impact of treatment for breast cancer with a focus on the ways the body is experienced. DESIGN: Phenomenologic, descriptive, and interpretive. SETTING: An outpatient treatment area of a comprehensive cancer center in the southwestern United States. SAMPLE: 20 women, ages 20-68 (mean = 50 years), who had mastectomies (including both modified radical mastectomies and lumpectomies, with some having reconstruction) for breast cancer. METHODS: Content analysis of verbatim transcriptions of open-ended interviews using hermeneutic phenomenology and descriptive and interpretive presentation of a paradigm case. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Reaction to breast cancer and its treatment. FINDINGS: Informants' descriptions demonstrate that the body can be viewed as having three aspects: (a) the body as symbol or social expression (i.e., how bodies make a social statement and tell others who you are); (b) the body as a way of being in the world, including sensations and symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and pain; and (c) the existential sense that one needs a body to be in the world (i.e., the body expresses existence), which led to more awareness of the possibility of death. CONCLUSIONS: Women treated for breast cancer view their bodies in ways that go beyond what is suggested by the literature on body image and breast cancer, encompassing a wide range of responses. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: The contribution of this study is the documentation of the complexity of the meaning of {"}body{"} for women with breast cancer. Appropriate interventions differ for each aspect of the body: for the body as social symbol, programs such as Look Good ... Feel Better or image centers; for the body's sensations and symptoms, information about what to expect and about symptom prevention and management; for the existential body, active listening to fears and concerns and providing assistance as needed.",
author = "Cohen, {Marlene Z} and Kahn, {D. L.} and Steeves, {R. H.}",
year = "1998",
month = "6",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "25",
pages = "835--841",
journal = "Oncology Nursing Forum",
issn = "0190-535X",
publisher = "Oncology Nursing Society",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Beyond body image

T2 - the experience of breast cancer.

AU - Cohen, Marlene Z

AU - Kahn, D. L.

AU - Steeves, R. H.

PY - 1998/6/1

Y1 - 1998/6/1

N2 - PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the mental and emotional impact of treatment for breast cancer with a focus on the ways the body is experienced. DESIGN: Phenomenologic, descriptive, and interpretive. SETTING: An outpatient treatment area of a comprehensive cancer center in the southwestern United States. SAMPLE: 20 women, ages 20-68 (mean = 50 years), who had mastectomies (including both modified radical mastectomies and lumpectomies, with some having reconstruction) for breast cancer. METHODS: Content analysis of verbatim transcriptions of open-ended interviews using hermeneutic phenomenology and descriptive and interpretive presentation of a paradigm case. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Reaction to breast cancer and its treatment. FINDINGS: Informants' descriptions demonstrate that the body can be viewed as having three aspects: (a) the body as symbol or social expression (i.e., how bodies make a social statement and tell others who you are); (b) the body as a way of being in the world, including sensations and symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and pain; and (c) the existential sense that one needs a body to be in the world (i.e., the body expresses existence), which led to more awareness of the possibility of death. CONCLUSIONS: Women treated for breast cancer view their bodies in ways that go beyond what is suggested by the literature on body image and breast cancer, encompassing a wide range of responses. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: The contribution of this study is the documentation of the complexity of the meaning of "body" for women with breast cancer. Appropriate interventions differ for each aspect of the body: for the body as social symbol, programs such as Look Good ... Feel Better or image centers; for the body's sensations and symptoms, information about what to expect and about symptom prevention and management; for the existential body, active listening to fears and concerns and providing assistance as needed.

AB - PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the mental and emotional impact of treatment for breast cancer with a focus on the ways the body is experienced. DESIGN: Phenomenologic, descriptive, and interpretive. SETTING: An outpatient treatment area of a comprehensive cancer center in the southwestern United States. SAMPLE: 20 women, ages 20-68 (mean = 50 years), who had mastectomies (including both modified radical mastectomies and lumpectomies, with some having reconstruction) for breast cancer. METHODS: Content analysis of verbatim transcriptions of open-ended interviews using hermeneutic phenomenology and descriptive and interpretive presentation of a paradigm case. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Reaction to breast cancer and its treatment. FINDINGS: Informants' descriptions demonstrate that the body can be viewed as having three aspects: (a) the body as symbol or social expression (i.e., how bodies make a social statement and tell others who you are); (b) the body as a way of being in the world, including sensations and symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and pain; and (c) the existential sense that one needs a body to be in the world (i.e., the body expresses existence), which led to more awareness of the possibility of death. CONCLUSIONS: Women treated for breast cancer view their bodies in ways that go beyond what is suggested by the literature on body image and breast cancer, encompassing a wide range of responses. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: The contribution of this study is the documentation of the complexity of the meaning of "body" for women with breast cancer. Appropriate interventions differ for each aspect of the body: for the body as social symbol, programs such as Look Good ... Feel Better or image centers; for the body's sensations and symptoms, information about what to expect and about symptom prevention and management; for the existential body, active listening to fears and concerns and providing assistance as needed.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0032084353&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0032084353&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 835

EP - 841

JO - Oncology Nursing Forum

JF - Oncology Nursing Forum

SN - 0190-535X

IS - 5

ER -