The Experience of Cognitive Change in Women with Breast Cancer Following Chemotherapy
Review TypeNone: Degree-based Submission
Repository Posting Date2019-09-17T20:28:53Z
Author(s)Kanaskie, Mary Louise
Author DetailsMary Louise Kanaskie, PhD, RN-BC
Lead Author Sigma AffliationBeta Sigma
Level of EvidencePhenomenology
Research ApproachQualitative Research
CINAHL HeadingsBreast Neoplasms; Chemotherapy, Cancer--Adverse Effects; Cognition Disorders--Chemically Induced; Life Experiences; Chemotherapy, Cancer; Cognition Disorders
Background: Change in cognitive function is one side effect of chemotherapy that has been reported in some breast cancer survivors. Alarming reports indicate that between 16 to 50 percent of women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer experience symptoms of cognitive impairment. These symptoms include subtle changes in memory, concentration, and some higher order processes that include psychomotor speed and executive functioning. In addition, it has been reported that these symptoms may persist even years after completion of treatment. Research is limited that has explored the lived experience of the phenomenon of chemotherapy-related cognitive change in breast cancer survivors. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to uncover the meaning of cognitive change in women with breast cancer, how symptoms are experienced and become evident, how it impacts roles in personal and professional lives, and how women cope with these changes. Methods: An interpretive phenomenological study was conducted with seven women with breast cancer, between the ages of 42-59, who had completed standard chemotherapy treatment within the past 12 months. Each woman participated in two in-depth semi-structured interviews one month apart and maintained a written journal. Reflective journaling and total immersion in the data enhanced the rigor of the methodology. In addition, a panel of three faculty members, with expertise in qualitative analysis, reviewed interview transcripts and provided insights which led to the refinement of essential themes and subthemes. Results: Phenomenological analysis employing van Manen’s framework for interpretive phenomenology revealed five major essential themes: Noticing the difference, experiencing cognitive changes, interacting socially, coping, and looking forward. Subthemes, both essential and incidental, were identified within each major theme. Analysis provided a description of the phenomenon in relation to the lifeworld existentials of lived space, lived body, lived time, and lived human relation. Conclusions: The experience of cognitive change could not be isolated nor studied separately from the greater context of the women’s reality of having breast cancer. This study provides clarity related to the impact of cognitive change and how women cope with these changes in relation to their daily roles and responsibilities. New knowledge is provided that is related to the impact on employment and professional life that can impact financial and social well being of women who are breast cancer survivors living with chemotherapy–related cognitive changes.
DescriptionThis dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 3573786; ProQuest document ID: 1437204143. The author still retains copyright.
Advisor(s)Loeb, Susan J.
Degree GrantorThe Pennsylvania State University
NotesThis item has not gone through this repository's peer-review process, but has been accepted by the indicated university or college in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the specified degree.
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