Breast cancer is a devastating event for a woman. Physical changes and psychological problems, treatment to improve the patient's condition, and increased survival rates compared with other cancers manifest the importance of quality of life in these patients. This quality of life is affected by how the patients adjust to their situation. Hence, to understand adjustment to breast cancer, this research aimed to investigate the experience from the patients' perspective and how they interact with others and interpret their experiences in adjusting to the disease. A qualitative research approach based on grounded theory was used. The data were the result of 45 interviews with patients in different phases of their illness trajectory during 1 year, 6 interviews with families, and 10 observation sessions. The main categories that emerged were perceived threat to live, religious aspects, supportive dimensions, will to recover, increase in endurance, barriers to efforts leading to health, living with the disease with tolerance, and inhibitors and facilitators of tolerance. These main categories were understood as passages to reach evolutionary peaceful coexistence. Adjustment to breast cancer has positive evolutional process, and its direction is toward better adjustment. By positive mental reconstruction, the patients feel that they can live with their disease. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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