“The Continuous Shadow of My Mother’s Breast Cancer”: exploring the voice of daughters

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Fang, Su-Ying
Wang, Yu-Ming
Lee, Kuo-Ting
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Purpose Women whose mothers have been diagnosed with breast cancer are concerned about their mothers’ illness and fear developing cancer themselves. This study, conducted in Taiwan, aims to understand daughters’ lived experiences after their mothers were diagnosed with breast cancer. Method In-depth interviews were conducted to understand daughters’ emotional reactions to their mothers’ diagnoses, their challenges with taking care of their mothers, and their concerns or perceptions regarding their own risks of developing breast cancer. Themes were identified using a phenomenological approach with 18 transcripts. Results Six themes were identified: “taking care of my mother is my responsibility”, “desiring sufficient information/support”, “feeling helplessness in providing care”, “expecting a cancer diagnosis in fear”, “anticipating reassurance other than surveillance”, and “worrying about myself is not a priority”. In addition, these themes reflected their concerns about how to support their mothers physically and psychologically, how to manage their own worries about cancer, and how to maintain their health. Conclusion The daughters prioritized the responsibility of caring for their mothers physically and psychologically rather than managing their own cancer concerns. Health care professionals should be aware of these priorities to provide education regarding the care of high-risk populations and psychological support to adult daughters.