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138 A longitudinal and dyadic interpretative phenomenological analysis of couples’ experiences of shared decision-making about breast reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer
  1. Kristopher Lamore1,2,
  2. Léa Demeulenaere1,
  3. Cécile Flahault2,
  4. Léonor Fasse2,
  5. Aurélie Untas2
  1. 1Université de Lille, CNRS, UMR 9193 – SCALab – Sciences Cognitives et Affectives, F-59000 Lille, France
  2. 2Université Paris Cité, Laboratoire de Psychopathologie et Processus de Santé, F-92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France Kristopher


Context Decisions regarding breast reconstruction during cancer treatment often involve the support of family members and frequently rely on the support of partners. Currently, there is limited research on how couples navigate these decisions. This study aims to longitudinally explore couples’ experiences of shared decision-making about breast reconstruction, as well as their adjustment to breast cancer, in the year following cancer diagnosis.

Method Unstructured individual interviews, with four couples facing mastectomy for breast cancer and breast reconstruction decision-making, were conducted after the mastectomy (T1) and one year after (T2). To allow an in-depth analysis of the experience, a dyadic longitudinal interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was conducted on the data.

Results Following mastectomy (T1), eight personal experiential statement arose from the data, while seven experiential statements were identified on data collected one year after (T2). At T1, couples talked about breast reconstruction as a preoccupation about the future. At T2, this is not a preoccupation anymore. Couples express themselves about the difficulties met and factors influencing their decision. Sometimes the decision seems to be the woman’s, but the partner is always considered, implicitly or explicitly. The interpretative accounts underline how women and partners cope with the disease and explore shared decision-making about breast reconstruction to have control on breast cancer. Participants’ experiences of shared decision-making seemed to reflect the meaning they attributed to their relationship and life.

Discussion This study explains how partners influence breast reconstruction decision making and how couples cope individually and together. These results highlight the difficulties couples can experience, especially in breast reconstruction decision-making. These findings are in line with previous studies, but this study provides more details and insight about partners role.

Conclusions According to couples’ experiences, training can be improved for healthcare professionals specifically on breast reconstruction decision-making, particularly to consider partners in decision making.

  • breast cancer
  • breast reconstruction
  • couple
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • qualitative analysis

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