Monday, August 4, 2008

Breast Cancer Disclosure: An Emotional Battle for Women

Women, conventionally socialized to play the role of caregivers, often find it difficult to spontaneously disclose the diagnoses of their disease to family members.

Not only is it an onerous task for them to confess it to their family, but when they actually break the news they do it tactically, an American Sociological Association (ASA) research uncovers.

When women learn about the diagnoses, even though they are themselves in the need of support and reassurance, they have to make an emotional effort and consider the vulnerabilities of their family members too while informing them.

Aside from emotional support it's also the progress being made in cancer research and cancer drugs these days that's reassuring. In fact the power of some natural compounds has also shown promise.

To conduct the research, the scientists comparatively and qualitatively examined how breast cancer survivors from different racial and ethnic backgrounds went about sharing the news of their illness with family, friends and acquaintances.

Research participants included 164 breast cancer survivors, who were examined for the “emotion work” involved in disclosing a breast cancer diagnosis. The mode of data collection was interview. Furthermore, The survivors were a mix of racially diverse women born in the United States and immigrants.

On the one hand women found it difficult to share the news with their family, but on the other, these women reported to have shared their diagnosis with their peers quite spontaneously. And following which they were themselves surprised by the extent of the support they got as a result of these spontaneous conversations from their own social networks.

The researchers believe that those women who limit their emotions in discussing their breast cancer diagnosis also limit the possibilities for support they might receive. So the take away seems to be, that involving others in an illness, increases intimacy among friends and family in addition to opening up newer doors to get additional support that is so much needed at times of stress, such as during breast cancer diagnoses.

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