Life journeys with advanced breast cancer in Mauritania : A mixed methods case study

Fearon, David and Brearley, Sarah and Hughes, Sean (2020) Life journeys with advanced breast cancer in Mauritania : A mixed methods case study. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women, globally. Social, religious and healthcare contexts have been shown to influence women’s experiences of advanced breast cancer; however, research has tended to focus on resource-rich nations. There is limited research from low-resource contexts, and little is known on the experiences of Arab, Muslim and African women with advanced breast cancer. Aim: To explore and understand the experiences of advanced breast cancer in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, West Africa. Methods: Using a constructivist Stakian multi-case study approach, eight cases were constructed around women (n=8) with advanced breast cancer, family members (n=10) and health professionals (n=9). Data were collected longitudinally (up to nine months per case) and consisted of interviews, audio-journals, a patient reported outcome measurement scale and a performance status scale. Withincase and cross-case analysis was undertaken, with thematic analysis of qualitative data. Findings: Three key themes were identified: 1. Destiny, 2. Patience & Acceptance and 3. Journeying in search of a cure. Mauritanian women appreciate that Allah is all powerful and maintains control over their destinies and their breast cancer. A fear of causing offence to Allah influences how they express negative experiences of breast cancer and its treatments. The women’s access to information and treatment is controlled by health professionals and families. Women are, therefore, required to use their own observations and interpretations to understand their breast cancer and empower their pursuit of treatment and a cure. Conclusion: Maure women’s experiences of advanced breast cancer in Mauritania are influenced by power imbalances. Allah is all-powerful. Families and health professionals exert power over Maure women’s access to information, healthcare decisions and how they express negative experiences. This thesis demonstrates that Maure women are cognisant of these challenges and, either, accept them as reality or attempt to work around them.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? mauritaniabreast cancerpalliative careafricacase study research ??
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29 Jun 2020 08:30
Last Modified:
02 Apr 2024 01:01