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Balancing Self-reliance with the Use of Support Mechanisms Amongst Breast Cancer Patients

Issue: Vol.7, No.3 - July 2008

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Article Type: Manuscript

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  1. Dr Caroline Bulsara
    The University of Western Australia
  2. Arlene Chan
  3. Jon Emery
  4. Alison Ward
  5. David Joske

This study adds to previous body of knowledge regarding self-reliance amongst patients in the face of life limiting illness such as cancer. The study used a phenomenological approach through in-depth interviewing a consecutive group of women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for early breast cancer. The overarching theme reinforces the significance of self-reliance amongst cancer patients in maintaining control over their illness. Although acknowledging the merit in accessing various mechanisms of support, all patients highlighted the importance of being aware that they largely must rely on themselves. Furthermore, in order to overcome treatment side effects, a patient needs the self-determination to succeed. The initial shock and anxiety experienced by many cancer patients following diagnosis is often accompanied patients being overwhelmed with a plethora of information about their condition and it's management. As the treatment regimen proceeds, patients become aware that although they value the support given from various sources, they also need time and space to self-reflect and draw on inner strength in managing their illness.

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