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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13--17

Body image and sexuality in women survivors of breast cancer in India: Qualitative findings

1 Manukau Community Mental Health Centre, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand
2 Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Surgical Oncology, St. John's Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Michelle S Barthakur
Clinical Psychologist, Manukau Community Mental Health Centre, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland
New Zealand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.197954

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Objectives: With increasing rates of breast cancer survivors, psychosocial issues surrounding cancer survivorship have been gaining prominence. The following article reports on body image and sexuality-related issues in aftermath of the diagnosis and its treatment in the Indian context. Materials and Methods: Research design was mixed method, cross–sectional, and exploratory in nature. Quantitative sample consisted of fifty survivors while the qualitative sample size included 15 out of the 50 total breast cancer survivors who were recruited from hospitals, nongovernmental organization, and through word-of-mouth. Data was collected using quantitative measures, and in-depth interviews were done using semi-structured interview schedule that was developed for the study. Qualitative data were analyzed using descriptive phenomenological approach. Results: In body image, emerging themes were about identity (womanhood, motherhood, and attractiveness), impact of surgery, hair loss, clothes, and uncomfortable situations. In sexuality, barriers were faced due to difficulty in disclosure and themes were about adjustments made by spouses, role of age, and sexual difficulties due to treatment. Conclusions: Findings imply need to address the issues of body image and sexuality as it impacts quality of life of survivors.


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