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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26159

Title: “Continuing a normal life as a normal person”: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study on the Reconstruction of Self Identity of Chinese Women Within the Lived Experience of Breast Cancer Survivorship
Authors: Cheng, Terry Tien
Advisor: Williams, Charmaine
Department: Social Work
Keywords: breast cancer
Chinese women
culture
survivor
identity
survivorship experience
phenomenology
translation
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2011
Abstract: Breast cancer incidence in Chinese women is rising in North America. However, a critical review of the empirical research reveals a clear under-representation of the breast cancer survivorship experiences of ethnic minority women, particularly those of Chinese origin. A breast cancer diagnosis not only disrupts a woman’s everyday life but also, and more importantly, her self-identity: who she was before the cancer diagnosis and who she becomes after the diagnosis. The purpose of this study was to understand the lived survivorship experience of Chinese women with breast cancer, in particular the way they reconstruct their self-identity while living under the constant threat of premature mortality. A hermeneutic phenomenology was employed to illuminate the essence of the lived experience. A purposeful sample of 24 Chinese women was recruited, and audiotaped face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted in English or Mandarin. An iterative process was carried out to identify themes and interwoven them into the four existentials of lifeworld to lend structural meaning to the lived experience. The self-identity of Chinese women living with breast cancer did not fit the current combative survivor identity and narrative as represented in the North America media. Rather, a ‘quiet’, modest and practical narrative underscoring the Chinese virtues of self-reliance, endurance, and social responsibility and harmony characterized their lived experience and self-identity. They endured unexpected major life events and accepted what life offers in an effort to move on with their lives of being a normal person again. An understanding of the way Chinese women manage the impact of breast cancer and their survivorship experience will significantly contribute to building our knowledge about this minority population within the Canadian context. In turn, this understanding will support health care professionals with the development of culturally sensitive psychosocial/supportive care services to maximize adaptation and recovery.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26159
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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