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Body image after mastectomy: A thematic analysis of younger women’s written account

Grogan, S and Mechan, J (2016) Body image after mastectomy: A thematic analysis of younger women’s written account. Journal of Health Psychology. ISSN 1359-1053

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Abstract

This study investigated younger women’s body image after mastectomy. In all, 49 women, aged 29–53 years (mean age: 39 years) who had had bilateral (n = 8) or unilateral (n = 41) mastectomy responded to open-ended questions online. Inductive thematic analysis revealed that aesthetics were less important than survival between diagnosis and mastectomy. Following mastectomy, women negotiated new body identities. Treatment effects such as weight gain were significant concerns. However, impacts on body confidence varied, and some participants rejected mainstream body shape ideals and reported feeling proud of their scars. Implications for supporting younger women post-mastectomy, including promotion of body acceptance, are discussed.

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