"A struggle between vanity and life": The experience of receiving breast reconstruction in women of Taiwan

  • Fang S
  • Balneaves L
  • Shu B
  • 26

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 13

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Understanding the role of sociocultural factors on women's experiences of breast reconstruction is needed to provide better care and avoid erroneous assumptions of these women's needs.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experiences of Taiwanese women with breast cancer who receive breast reconstruction following mastectomy in Taiwan.

METHODS: A qualitative research design, guided by the philosophy of hermeneutic phenomenology, was selected to guide the study. In-depth interviews were conducted 1 to 2 times with each participant and explored the women's experiences related to making decisions about, undergoing, and recovering from breast reconstruction.

RESULTS: Seven women who received either autologous breast reconstruction or saline implants were recruited in southern Taiwan. Five themes were identified, including "dream of a wonderful future," "unexpected reality," "struggling to accept," "balancing vanity with life priorities," and "coming to terms: no regret."

CONCLUSION: Taiwanese women felt ambivalent about their new breasts, which failed to meet their expectations. This ambivalence, combined with a culture that values selflessness and the placement of family first, resulted in many women feeling guilty, vain, and superficial for requesting breast reconstruction.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Clinical implications include the importance of regular and authentic patient-health care provider communication throughout the process of breast reconstruction, including recovery, and better acknowledgement of Taiwanese women's body image concerns associated with breast reconstruction.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Mastectomy
  • Phenomenology

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text

Authors

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free