The purpose of this study was to understand the strengths and resources younger women and their family members use to live with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Each year approximately 2100 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Queensland and it is the most common diagnosis of cancer for women under the age of 75 years world wide (WHO, 2008). Approximately 25% are under the age of fifty years (AIHW, 2008) with associated lifestyle factors that add to the complexities of living with breast cancer. Using a descriptive exploratory design, a non random sample of 100 women and their family members completed questionires and 23 persol interviews were conducted with both the women and their family members providing an in-depth view of how the family lives with breast cancer. The children of these families ranged from 2 years to 25 years. The qualitative themes explored the struggle that the women, partners, children and support people have trying to support the woman with breast cancer and having their own needs met. The mothers discussed how their school aged children in particular were often emotiolly lost as the family tried to maintain normality. This paper discusses the children's response to their mother's breast cancer and how the family supported the children. This knowledge will increase our understanding of the complex ture of the family adjustment and how children in these families move through their mother's diagnosis.

Presented at Conferences

  • 9th International Family Nursing Conference (2009)