Breast Cancer Treatment: Experiences of Changes and Social Stigma Among Thai Women in Southern Thailand Academic Article uri icon


  • Women with breast cancer receive different forms of treatment. Although treatment can save the lives of women, they can result in adverse physical, psychological, and social effects that can impact the women's quality of life.The objective of this study was to describe the experiences of breast cancer treatment among Thai women in southern Thailand.This study used qualitative methods (in-depth interviewing and drawings) with 20 Thai women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis methods.Three themes emerged: (a) being a breast cancer patient: visible signs and adverse effects of therapy, (b) experiencing emotional chaos, and (c) experiencing social dysfunction. The women had to deal with physical body changes, emotional burden, treatment-related social stigma, and being marginalized within their own social context.Women experienced changes including social stigma after receiving breast cancer treatments. They had to manage stigma and difficulties themselves without sufficient professional support.It is important for nurses to understand such experiences so that they may support appropriate coping strategies suited to each woman. Community health nurses need to view each woman with breast cancer as a unique person and appreciate how to provide appropriate care and support based on each woman's experience with her illness and treatment.

publication date

  • 2016