Female Cancer Patients’ Perceptions regarding Health-related Behaviors: A Qualitative Analysis
AbstractBackground: Cancer is a growing challenge worldwide. Although it affects both sexes, women tend to be more vulnerable to it than men. This study aims to elucidate the perceptions of women afflicted with cancer regarding health-related behaviors.Methods: This is a qualitative study with content analysis. Participants included 22 women with cancer in Tehran. The participants were recruited by purposive sampling and were administered semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. The interviews were transcribed and reviewed to yield the findings. Initially, semantic resemblances and differences were reviewed and subcategories were defined. Subsequently, after repeated review, the related subcategories were placed in one category.Results: The participants in this study were aged 27 to 65 years, most were married (14 women) and homemakers (20 women). Moreover, their education ranged from elementary school to a bachelor’s degree. Regarding cancer type, most were diagnosed with breast cancer (12 women) and the duration of the disease ranged 2-5 years. Data analysis yielded 2 categories and 4 subcategories. The category “physical health-related behaviors” consisted of two subcategories: “health-related behaviors pertaining to physical activities after cancer” and “physical activities after treatment”. The category “psychosocial health-related behaviors” consisted of two subcategories: “mental health-related behaviors” and “socio-cultural health-related behaviors”.Conclusion: Our findings highlight the fact in order to improve the health of women with cancer, aspects of health other than physical health (e.g. psychosocial health) need to be addressed. Since, according to our findings, health-related behaviors of women with cancer are deeply affected by culture, it appears that countering the cultural taboos pertaining to cancer will improve these women’s health. Achieving this outcome requires extensive cultural interventions in the healthcare system. We propose community-based educational interventions to correct cultural beliefs of the community to improve health for this vulnerable group.
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