Women’s experience of physical activity following breast cancer treatment
Article first published online: 5 MAY 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Nordic College of Caring Science
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Volume 22, Issue 3, pages 422–429, September 2008
How to Cite
Larsson, I. L., Jönsson, C., Olsson, A. C., Gard, G. and Johansson, K. (2008), Women’s experience of physical activity following breast cancer treatment. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 22: 422–429. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2007.00546.x
- Issue published online: 18 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 5 MAY 2008
- Submitted 10 December 2006, Accepted 6 August 2007
- breast cancer;
- physical activity;
- qualitative study;
Physical activity is of great benefit to women treated for breast cancer and can even be vital. The aim of this qualitative study was to describe how women treated for breast cancer experience physical activity after surgery. Twelve women, strategically selected according to hospital, age and length of time since surgery, took part in a semi-structured interview. A qualitative method with a phenomenographic approach was used.
The result indicates that the incentive to remain or return to a normal physical condition is an important motive for physical activity after breast cancer surgery. The experience of physical activity was, from the women’s perspective, expressed in (i) compliance to instructions and need for support, (ii) struggle to get back to normal and fear of negative side-effects, (iii) a wish to stay normal and not allow limitations and (iv) getting control of the situation with new strategies. In conclusion, instructions and motivation are important in starting up and/or continuing physical activity after breast cancer treatment. While in considering the vital benefits of physical activity for breast cancer patients healthcare professionals, and in particular physiotherapists, must be aware of the need for information and the patients’ motive for exercise and physical activity to be able to guide and encourage them individually.
The professionals must also understand the need for empowerment for these women to take control over their lives and to allow the limitations that eventually occur.