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|Title:||MENTAL HEALTH, QUALITY OF LIFE AND LIFE EXPERIENCES OF GHANAIAN WOMEN LIVING WITH BREAST CANCER|
|Keywords:||Breast Cancer;Quality of Life;Psychological Distress;Life Experiences;Ghana|
|Abstract:||Background: The burden of breast cancer may contribute to elevated psychological distress. Conversely, distress may negatively impact the development, recurrence and diagnosis of cancer as it compromises the immune system and adherence to treatment, creating a vicious cycle. With the breast cancer fatality rate significantly higher in Sub-Saharan African women than in women living in higher income countries, further research is needed to limit the devastating impact of chronic diseases on this population. Purpose: The aim of the study was to determine if Ghanaian breast cancer patients were more susceptible to higher psychological distress and lower quality of life than healthy Ghanaian women and how their lived experiences affect their mental health. Method: Sixty-four breast cancer patients and 64 healthy participants were recruited to complete the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale and World Health Organization Quality of life-BREF scale. The life experiences of women living with breast cancer were assessed through semi-structured interviews. Results: Breast cancer patients had higher psychological distress than the healthy women and also scored lower on the quality of life domains of physical health, psychological well-being and environment. The lived experiences of the breast cancer patients followed a similar journey from suspicion of ill-health to difficulty navigating the health system, feeling the effects of breast cancer and lastly, regaining confidence. Breast cancer had affected the women’s daily activities, health, female identity, roles and responsibilities. However, financial, emotional and social support, together with individual coping mechanisms such as religion and physical exercise, mitigated the impact of the breast disease. Conclusion: Patient centered care approaches could ease the psychological distress of breast cancer patients. Finally, future research should investigate methods of improving the women’s psychological well-being, physical health and environment as it may positively impact the prognosis of Ghanaian breast cancer patients.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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