Postmenopausal women with breast cancer: Their experiences of the chemotherapy treatment period

Maria Browall, Fannie Gaston-Johansson, Ella Danielson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This article illustrates the experience of 20 postmenopausal women with breast cancer who had received chemotherapy treatment. The interviews were of narrative nature and analyzed with content analysis. Four themes, including 12 subthemes, described these women's life during treatment as a journey from the negative experiences of fear of the unknown, affects on body and mind, to the more positive to get by, and a transformed life. The treatment was compared with an assault on the body, and the loss of their hair was experienced more negatively than the loss of a breast. The women described a feeling of imbalance in their relationships due to lack of support from those close to them. The support from healthcare professionals was experienced both positively and negatively, and many of the women revealed variation in the professional's attitude, knowledge, and empathy. The women who chose not to work during the treatment felt pressure from society and healthcare professionals to get back to work as soon as possible. For many, especially those in a leading position, this was experienced as very difficult. The women expressed a feeling of not being afraid of dying but wanted more time to prepare themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalCancer nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Chemotherapy treatment
  • Content analysis
  • Daily life
  • Experience
  • Postmenopausal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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