The Experience of Adult Daughters Living With Mother's Breast Cancer

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Ting-Chun Chen, BSN
Department of Nursing,Chi Mei Medical Center /Department of Nursing, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
Su-Ying Fang, PhD
Department of Nursing, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Background: Breast cancer tends to be genetic and is more likely to be inherited by daughters than sons. When mothers suffer from cancer, daughters are usually the ones who take the role of the caregiver. In addition to their own concern of the risk of getting cancer themselves and worrying about their mother’s health, the combination of undertaking the role of the caregiver may be even more threatening the psychological health of adult daughters. Previous studies showed that mothers getting breast cancer will affect the psychological health of their daughters, but does not reveal the impact of adult daughters facing their mothers after cancer therapy, nor the experiences of living in the shadow of the risk of getting cancer themselves. Understanding the aforementioned issues and phenomenon helps in providing more appropriate intervention from a daughter’s perspective to meet the needs of women with high risks of breast cancer.

Purpose: To understand the experiences of adult daughters living with mothers’ breast cancer.

Methods: This study adopts the phenomenological qualitative research method to understand the experience of adult daughters whose mother suffered with breast cancer in southern Taiwan. Semi-structural interviews are used to to conduct in-depth interviews with adult daughters of women with breast cancer. Text data analysis is conducted by using the seven step analysis method proposed by Colaizzi (1978). The number of interviews and amount of data are stopped when data reached saturation.

Results: A total of six adult daughters interviewed in this study. After the interview transcription has been translated for text analysis, 4 themes were emerged: 1) triple fear from self, mother and my daughter, 2) multiple roles on me at the same time, 3) changed communication and relationship with my mothers, and 4) desire for more medical care support.

Conclusion: This study found that adult daughters of women with breast cancer usually undertook the role of the caregiver for their mothers, which corresponds with the psychological stress of daughters shown in previous literatures. These daughters not only perceived threat to their own lives due to their mothers’ sickness, but also experienced fear and concern of the high risk of suffering from breast cancer themselves. Additionally, they also concerned how to discuss disease-related information with their next generation under the risk of genetic inheritance etc. This study provide some implications that psychological support, disease-related information and appropriate communication and interaction support with their mother can be provided to improve their physical and psychological health.