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While all cancer patients face a bewildering array of treatments, side effects, and emotions, several researchers have shown that African American women with breast cancer experience greater stress and burdens because of unmet supportive needs associated with psychological distress, financial distress, and lower physical/functional well-being. Social support has been shown to improve health outcomes for African American breast cancer patients. The purpose of this paper is to understand the meaning of social support among African American women diagnosed with breast cancer. A total of 47 African American women with breast cancer participated in the in-depth qualitative interviews. Key findings indicate that social support was received in the context of the stability of the extended family network. Moreover, social support was received in the context of distributing the social support received among many members in their personal networks and that social support was only received on patient's own terms. The findings of this paper provide an understanding to the inter-relational and cultural meanings of receiving support by diverse cancer patients. In addition, the findings of this paper have implications for health care professionals working with African American breast cancer patients in understanding how social support can be received.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
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