Day care surgery and women's breast cancer journeys




Rolph, Donna

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This paper represents a thoughtful and critical examination of the experience of women with breast cancer who undergo day care surgery. In 2009, an estimated 22,700 Canadian women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 9,400 died (Canadian Cancer Society‘s Steering Committee, 2009, p.13). Every week in Canada, approximately 437 Canadian women are told they have breast cancer and 100 women die from the disease. The experience of breast cancer for women has been identified as a complex physical, biological, emotional and psychological ―journey‖ (Halkett & Arbon, 2006). It has been reported that women with breast cancer do not receive adequate health and disease related information at the time of their illness (Jensen, Back-Petterson, & Segesten, 2000). It has also been noted that womens‘ needs for support from health care providers are not adequately addressed (Melinyshyn & Wintonic, 2006). The common thread throughout this project was a focus on womens‘ emotional and psychological experiences during the phases of the breast cancer journey, from finding a lump, to seeking medical attention, to diagnostic testing and then undergoing day care surgery. Through an in-depth exploration of both existing knowledge and new information related to this important area of nursing clinical practice, this project offers a relevant contribution to the current body of nursing knowledge related to the care of women with breast cancer. This paper is organized into three major sections related to the care of the women with breast cancer who undergo day care surgery. Part 1 includes the specific Women‘s Breast Cancer Journeys 6 purpose and objectives of the project; the project‘s background and significance; context and scope; and the author‘s beliefs about this important clinical practice issue and its clinical relevance to advanced practice nursing. Part 2 is the largest section of this paper. It includes three sub sections which present the findings of the project inquiry. Specifically section 2 includes a comprehensive literature review; my personal observations of women with breast cancer undergoing day care surgery; my reflections and analysis of my observations of the women that had day care surgery; the identification of gaps in nursing knowledge and practice that I noted during my observations and the identification of nursing care needs during the diagnostic and surgical phase of the breast cancer journey. Part 3, the final section of the paper, includes recommendations and conclusions. Specifically this section includes implications for nursing practice, future program planning, questions for future research, potential contributions of advanced practice nurses and project conclusions.



breast cancer, day care, surgery