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Women's experiences of advanced breast cancer in a resource-limited Arab context: A Stakian multi-case study

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/05/2021
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date21/05/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


ObjectiveBreast cancer is the most common cancer for women, globally. Women are more likely to present with more advanced cancer and palliative care needs in low-resource contexts. There is limited research on Arab, Muslim and African women's experiences of advanced breast cancer. The aim of this study was to explore and understand the experiences of advanced breast cancer in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
MethodsUsing a constructivist Stakian multi-case study approach, eight cases were constructed with women with advanced breast cancer (n=8), family members (n=10) and health professionals (n=9). Data were collected longitudinally (up to nine months per case) and included semi-structured interviews and audio-journals. Data from 58 interviews and 31 journal entries were thematically analysed.
ResultsThree key themes were identified: 1. Destiny: Maure women appreciate that Allah is all powerful and maintains control over their destinies and their breast cancer. 2. Patience & Acceptance: a fear of causing offence to Allah influences how women express their experiences of breast cancer and its treatments. 3. Journeying in search of a cure: Maure women have limited access to information around their cancer and its treatments. Women use their own observations and interpretations to understand their breast cancer and guide their pursuit of treatment and a cure.
ConclusionMaure women feel reassured that life and cure remain possible because of Allah's sustenance; but are aware that the gift of life is fragile. They experience restricted power over how they express negative experiences, access to information, and healthcare decisions.