Mum, I have breast cancer! The words no mother ever wants to hear. Yet one in four of the women diagnosed with breast cancer will be under the age of fifty years (AIHW, 2008) and closely supported by their mothers. Research identifies that family forms the main source of support for patients with cancer (Northouse, 2005) yet little research has actually explored the younger woman and her family members experience during this time. Methods This research used a descriptive exploratory design to explore the strengths and resources the woman and her family members use during treatment for breast cancer. A questionire and persol interviews provided information on how the woman and her family members adjust after a diagnosis of breast cancer. Persol interviews were conducted with several mothers of women to provide an insight into their persol journey as they supported their daughters. Results A thematic alysis of the transcripts identified several key themes related specifically to being the supporting mother. These themes were; feeling guilty about their daughter being diagnosed with breast cancer; just being there for their daughters; supporting yet protecting and needing time out 'being overwhelmed'. This paper discusses the mother's perspective as she supports her daughter travelling through her breast cancer journey. This paper aims to improve the health professiol's understanding of the supporting role of the mother and the mother's persol journey.

Presented at Conferences

  • 15th UICC Reach to Recovery (2009)