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Exploring Coping Strategies Among Young Asian American Women Breast Cancer Survivors

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In recent years, breast cancer rates among young Asian American women have been increasing. Despite increases in breast cancer among young Asian American women, little is known about how this population copes throughout diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. This study was a qualitative exploration of how young Asian American women cope with breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. In-depth interviews with 22 young (under the age of 50) Asian American women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer were conducted. Through qualitative data analysis, three major themes emerged including moving from managing the emotions of others to expressing emotional vulnerability, moving from work and productivity to work-life balance, and moving beyond the family and reaching out to breast cancer survivors. At diagnosis, participants worked to maintain normalcy including caring for others and working during treatment. Once treatment was over, women worked to find ways to use their experience as a transformative one and also to develop more positive coping skills including expressing emotional vulnerability and reaching out to others. Further studies are needed to create and test culturally tailored supportive interventions that enhance positive coping tools among young Asian American women diagnosed by breast cancer.

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This manuscript is dedicated to the memory of Mai Anh Dam. The project described was supported by Award Number P20MD000544 from the National Center On Minority Health And Health Disparities. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center On Minority Health And Health Disparities or the National Institutes of Health. The collection of cancer incidence data used in this study was supported by the California Department of Public Health as part of the statewide cancer reporting program mandated by California Health and Safety Code Section 103885; the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program under contract HHSN261201000140C awarded to the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, contract HHSN261201000035C awarded to the University of Southern California, and contract HHSN261201000034C awarded to the Public Health Institute; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries, under agreement U58DP003862-01 awarded to the California Department of Public Health. The ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and endorsement by the State of California, Department of Public Health the National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their Contractors and Subcontractors is not intended nor should be inferred.

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Correspondence to Grace J. Yoo.

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Yoo, G.J., Sudhakar, A., Le, M.N. et al. Exploring Coping Strategies Among Young Asian American Women Breast Cancer Survivors. J Canc Educ 32, 43–50 (2017).

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