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Korean J Women Health Nurs > Volume 18(1); 2012 > Article
Korean Journal of Women Health Nursing 2012;18(1):49-61.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4069/kjwhn.2012.18.1.49    Published online March 31, 2012.
Experiences of the Use of External Breast Prosthesis among Breast Cancer Survivors in Korea
Eun Young Jun, Soon Ran Choi, Hee Sun Kang
1Department of Nursing, Korea Nazarene University, Cheonan, Korea.
2Cheil General Hospital & Women's Healthcare Center, Seoul, Korea.
3Red Cross College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea. goodcare@cau.ac.kr
The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of the use of external breast prostheses among breast cancer survivors in Korea.
A qualitative descriptive study was conducted, using focus groups. Data were collected from breast cancer survivors who were patients of C women's hospital in Seoul, Korea. Data were analyzed using content analysis in order to identify significant themes.
Participants included forty breast cancer survivors who had mastectomy as a surgical treatment. Four themes emerged from the collected data were: 1) concern over the high price of external breast prosthesis, 2) irregular use of external breast prosthesis, 3) unsatisfied with mastectomy bra, and 4) wanting to hide or not to talk about using breast prosthesis openly.
Since most participants reported irregular use and negative experiences related to external breast prosthesis or mastectomy bra use, healthcare workers should allow more time for proper fitting and counseling and consulting with breast cancer survivors. In addition, health care providers as well as family and friends should keep in mind that cancer survivors need support that can help them cope by using positive reframing. Furthermore, improvements in the coverage of costs and services are needed for these women. This would be helpful for breast prosthesis users.
Key Words: Breast neoplasms; Breast prosthesis; Mastectomy

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