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Treatment decision-making, family influences, and cultural influences of Chinese breast cancer survivors: a qualitative study using an expressive writing method

  • Lijuan Wang
  • Xiaotao Geng
  • Lili Ji
  • Guohua LuEmail author
  • Qian Lu
Original Article
  • 41 Downloads

Abstract

Purpose

Among Chinese breast cancer survivors, treatment decision-making is different than that in western countries. Among Chinese women, family often plays an important role during the treatment period, and Chinese-specific cultural factors have negative influences on their psychological conditions. The aim of the present study was to explore the treatment decision making, family influences, and cultural influences of Chinese breast cancer survivors.

Methods

This study used an expressive writing method to explore the experiences of breast cancer survivors who were diagnosed with stage 0 to III cancer. Participants were instructed to write 30 min per week over a period of 3 weeks. All writings were analyzed using a qualitative method.

Results

Three themes were identified: treatment decision making, family influences, and cultural influences. Treatment decision-making included the subthemes of preference for mastectomy, passive involvement, and active involvement. Family influences included the subthemes of financial burden, family expectations, and family support. Cultural influences included the subthemes of fatalism, barriers to expressing emotions, and stigma related to cancer.

Conclusions

Information on breast cancer treatment and survivorship should be provided to patients through multiple methods to improve their knowledge of breast cancer. Family support should be maintained to ensure patients’ confidence and courage during the treatment period. Necessary and appropriate psychological interventions that consider cultural influences should be administered.

Keywords

Breast cancer Social support Disclosure Chinese Cultural 

Notes

Funding information

This research is supported by the Shandong Education Department (J17RA137), Science and Technology Development Plan of Weifang (2015WS009, 2018YX003), Health and Family Planning Commission of Shandong Province (2017WS852), and Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province ( ZR2016GM05).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures in studies involving human participants were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the Southern Adelaide Clinical Human Research Ethics Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical

standards.

Statement of informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care UnitWeifang People’s HospitalWeifangChina
  2. 2.School of MedicineShandong UniversityJinanChina
  3. 3.Department of Radiation Oncology, Shandong Cancer Hospital and InstituteJinanChina
  4. 4.Department of Radiation OncologyWeifang People’s HospitalWeifangChina
  5. 5.Department of Medical NursingWeifang Medical UniversityWeifangChina
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyWeifang Medical UniversityWeifangChina
  7. 7.Department of Health Disparities ResearchThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  8. 8.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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