Experiences of breast cancer patients using external prosthesis after mastectomy in the contexts of a Pakistan society

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MScN)


School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Mastectomy is one of the common treatment modalities for breast cancer, which causes a noticeable change in the shape of women's body, consequently, affecting women’s physical and psychological health. Studies in other countries suggest that the use the of external breast prostheses (EBP) helps women overcome stress and improve their self-esteem. Objective. The aim of this study was to identify the experiences of breast cancer patients using EBP, in the context of the Pakistani society. Methodology. A qualitative descriptive exploratory design was used in the study. A total of 15 post mastectomy women were recruited, through purposive and snow ball sampling, from the private hospital of Karachi, Pakistan, for participating in this study. The data was collected through in depth interviews, by using a semi-structured interview guide. All the interviews were audio- taped and transcribed verbatim, and then translated into English. Findings. The analysis of the data was organized into four categories according to the study questions, including: reasons for using EBP, challenges for using EBP, living with EBP, and coping strategies, and each category was further divided into sub categories. Women used EBP because they felt weird, incomplete, and embarrassed, in front of other people, due to the asymmetrical shape of the chest after mastectomy. They faced several challenges with regard to obtaining and using the EBP. While EBP was used as an alternative of their lost beast, they experienced sadness and embarrassment. Moreover, they found it challenging to take care of the EBP, and made changes their life style. However, they accepted living with EBP, either through rationalization, family support, or faith and prayers, which helped them to cope. Conclusion. This study identified the experiences of women using EBP, and their significance for post mastectomy rehabilitation. This study has implications for nurses and other health care professionals.

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