Breast Cancer Survivors and Their Spouses

Several studies have shown that breast cancer patients experience a tremendous psychological and emotional distress during the time of diagnosis and treatment and this retards their ability to cope with the disease and may affect their survival effort. Literature Review Based on the study of Del Mastro et al (2002) and Jacobsen & Holland (1991), they found that most women are increasing distress especially during the diagnosis time because they are highly concern about the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation (Leventhal, Easterling, Coons & Lucherhand, 1986).

According to Leventhal, Easterling, Coons & Lucherhand, even 50 percent of women who have survived cancer still live in anxiety three years pass their last treatment. Besides chemotherapy and radiation, family members especially spouses are also the source of stress for the breast cancer patients. According to Baider and Sarell (1984), say Shields and Rousseau, women with breast cancer often find it difficult to communicate with their spouse about their experience and their feelings.

This difficulty retards their mental and psychological ability to adjust to their environment and increases their level of stress. Hypotheses to be Tested Therefore, Shields and Rousseau hypothesize that professional intervention in communication with the family members especially the spouses would likely reduce their level of stress. Method Participants Shields and Rousseau conducted two phases of focus group discussion. This focus group discussion is attended by couples with women at average age of 52 and whose husbands’ average age is 62.

The first phase is participated by 10 couples and is divided into two groups to generate ideas through a continuous discussion. The second phase is participated by 48 couples and are divided in three groups, first is non-experimental control group (15 couples), second group has 12 couples (in 2-session format) and third group has 21 couples (in 1-session format). Materials Questionnaires were used to know about the experiences of the participants. Sessions were videotaped. Consent was obtained from participants before study was conducted. Procedure

Idea-generation focus groups were conducted. Group talking was initiate group talking and record them to follow their conversation with their consent. Results The result obtained from this focus group discussion indicates that most participant spouses are willing to participate in their wives treatment and to help them to reduce their anxiety. Implications Implications for counselors, clients & counseling From the 2003 US American Cancer Society’s report, it indicates that in the United States alone, 211,300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually.

However, early detection would help them to live longer. From the above explanation, it indicates that cancer is also stress related. Therefore, in the effort of increasing the survival rate, women should be able to reduce their stress and this requires spousal support. Discussion Summary Shields & Rousseau agree with Mullan (1984) and Marcus et al. (1998) that the end of treatment marks the important period for the breast cancer patient to make social adjustment with their family and their surroundings.

For these women, lives seem to be full of uncertainties and they find that their spouses are emotionally unprepared to support them to adjust to the environment. Many of them are living in their distress. Interpretation Shields and Rousseau state, “Family support is vital for patients’ well-being. At the same time, partners and other family members need support and education in order for them to deal with their experience well enough that they can provide support to their loved one with cancer.

” Therefore, professional intervention in communication with the family members, especially the spouse, should be included in the treatment of breast cancer patients. This would reduce their stress level and improve their chance of living longer. This may include training the spouses on how to respond to their wives’ emotional distress, open discussion with family members so that they can better understand their mood during and after treatment, and develop a manual on how- to help cancer patients avoid stress.

For Further Study The intervention suggested such methods are worth and must be used for further studies of similar kind.


American Cancer Society. (2003). Cancer Facts & Figures 2003. Atlanta, GA: Author. Baider, L. , & Sarell, M. (1984). Couples in crisis: Patient-spouse differences in perception of interaction patterns and the illness situation. Family Therapy, 11, 115–122.

Cancer is very common among people of all ages. There are many different types of cancer and certain ones affect certain ages more. Among older people there are certain cancers that affect their age group more than others. One cancer …

To define the target group appropriately is essential to include all the candidates of the group and to identify the unique attributes of this group. In this paper, as in many other researches in this field, the target group is …

Many patients with breast cancer know a breast cancer diagnosis affects family members and friends. Sometimes, the concerns and sudden changes caused by breast cancer, and the treatment become as overwhelming for family members and friends as they are for …

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. * * Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. * Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out