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Reconstruction of feminine identity: the strategies of women with breast cancer to cope with body image altered

Authors Zeighami Mohammadi S, Mohammad Khan Kermanshahi S, Vanaki Z

Received 26 July 2018

Accepted for publication 12 October 2018

Published 1 November 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 689—697

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S181557

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer


Sharareh Zeighami Mohammadi, Sima Mohammad Khan Kermanshahi, Zohreh Vanaki

Department of Nursing, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

Background: Body image altered is the most important psychosocial concern associated with breast cancer. Yet, there is a paucity of information regarding strategies for coping with this problem. This study aimed to explore Iranian breast cancer women’s strategies for coping with body image altered.
Methods: This qualitative study was conducted in 2016–2017. A purposive sample of 36 women with breast cancer was selected with maximum variation from three health care centers in Alborz Province, Iran. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews and analyzed by performing conventional qualitative content analysis.
Results: The main theme of the study was “reconstruction of feminine identity” with the six main categories of physical appearance improvement, active information seeking, self-care for managing limits, psychological self-empowerment, maintaining maternal role, and maintaining wife role.
Conclusion: Iranian breast cancer women’s strategies for coping with body image altered are multidimensional and are mainly based on personal resources. Breast cancer women use these strategies to reconstruction of their feminine identity. Health policy-makers can use the findings of the present study to develop interventions and programs for improving breast cancer women’s body image care.

Keywords: breast cancer, body image altered, coping, feminine identity, qualitative study

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