Self-care and breast cancer recovery

Cathy Seegers, B. Lee Walker, Lillian M. Nail, Anna Schwartz, Lorrie Larsen Mudgett, Sharon Stephen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: This study identified self-care behaviors used by women during and after radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancer. DESCRIPTION OF STUDY: Interviews with 23 women 7 months post-radiation therapy for breast cancer were analyzed for descriptions of self-care. The interviews were part of the final data collection in a longitudinal study investigating experiences post-treatment. RESULTS: Self-care behaviors reported most frequently were establishing a good support network, living life to the fullest despite illness, regulating feelings, managing stress, and taking responsibility for one's own health. Results suggest that breast cancer patients have many needs that continue to require attention post-radiation therapy, making self-care an important consideration throughout recovery. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Quality of self-care may make a significant difference to women after treatment for breast cancer. Healthcare providers can promote self-care by encouraging patients to conserve energy, to engage in relationships, and to maintain a positive outlook and by suggesting activities that help patients cope, adapt, and manage symptoms during and after treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-345
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Illness management
  • Recovery
  • Self-care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Oncology


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