Objective: To understand the life experience of women with mastectomy in relation to their disease, analysing what leads some women to have breast reconstruction and others not to do so. Identify the situation of mastectomised women with lymphoedemas, alopecia and other problems. Method: Phenomenological qualitative research. Twenty-nine in-depth interviews were conducted on the women through specific informants in the oncology services of the Hospital Vall d'Hebron; and the gynaecology unit at the Salud La Mina Primary Care Centre in Barcelona. The age range was between 20 and 69 years. Results: Through the analysis of the interviews it was possible to reveal the phenomenon in research. The following subjects were those of most relevance: there women with reconstructed and non-reconstructed breasts, and a mutilated body image through the loss of one or both breasts. Participation of women in social occasions, use of clothing and lifestyle. The cancer is visualised: lymphoedemas, loss of hair with an affect on the public image. Conclusions: Younger women, graduates and middle class ladies and those over 40 with a primary education are those that have a breast reconstruction. Middle-high and high class graduates do not have a breast reconstruction. They negotiate their relationship with their partner in other ways. © 2010 Elsevier España, S.L.
- Breast cancer
- Breast reconstruction