Treatment withdrawal experiences of women with breast cancer: A phenomenological study

Shu Ching Chi, Yu Chen Liu, Sriyani Padmalatha konara mudiyanselage, Susan Fetzer, Mei Feng Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To obtain an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences, values, and beliefs of Taiwanese women with breast cancer who withdrew from cancer treatment. Background: Fear of side effects, negative experiences and personal beliefs were identified as reasons for withdrawing from cancer treatments. Body–mind consciousness and body autonomy play a crucial role in cancer treatment decisions. Design: Descriptive phenomenological approach. Methods: We conducted semi-structured, face-to-face and in-depth interviews with 16 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Participants were purposefully selected from the Cancer Registry database. Employing a phenomenological approach, our aim was to explore the lived experiences of these individuals. Data analysis followed Giorgi's five-step process. To ensure a comprehensive report the COREQ checklist was applied. Findings: ‘The Determination to Preserve Me’ is the essence of treatment withdrawal, identified by three themes and seven sub-themes. ‘Raising Body-Mind Consciousness’ was generated using body autonomy and preventing repeated psychological trauma from the participant's view. Their lifestyles, maintaining the family role, and returning to a normal trajectory help develop ‘Maintaining Stability for Being a Patient and a Family Carer’. ‘Self-Defending Against the Body Harm’ was generated by concerns about maintaining health and preventing harm. Conclusion: Women's behaviours became transformed by suffering. Actions were influenced by physical and psychological distress, misconceptions about treatments, and appearance changes by self-determination through self-protection. Relevance to clinical practice: Healthcare professionals should respect women's autonomy and work collaboratively to ensure their decision-making with accurate information and awareness of the potential risks and benefits of treatment withdrawal need to concern.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing


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