Introduction Breast cancer is the leading cancer for women with 25% of these women under 50 years. This diagnosis changes the young women's future however they face these changes and challenges closely supported by family and friends. Research has identified phase of life as an influencing factor for the women's adjustment and adaptation to their breast cancer diagnosis (Coyne & Borbasi, 2006; Sammarco, 2001). Although, little research has explored how women and their family move through this together. This research aims to explore the woman and her family's experience during the adjustment phase of breast cancer. Methods This study used an exploratory descriptive design based on the Resiliency Model of Family Stress. 111 participants completed questionires exploring the strengths and resources they used to assist them. This provided information about how the family works through their breast cancer diagnosis and the resources they use to assist them during this time, 23 persol interviews provided depth to the quantitative data. Results Results identified a strong commitment to the family and working together as a family to overcome adversity. The results also showed no significant difference between the women with breast cancer and their family members in relation to seeing the breast cancer as a challenge. However the sense of control on the situation was reduced for the woman with breast cancer. Conclusion This paper aims to increase the understanding of how the family work together and adapt to the resultant changes and in most cases move forward as a family.

Presented at Conferences

  • 12th Winter Congress 2009- Heart Mind and Voice: A Shared Vision (2009)

    New Castle