Outpatient Breast Cancer Surgery

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Women face serious emotional issues after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The first concern that enters the mind of breast cancer patients is the thought of dying from the disease. The second challenge comes with the hurdles of cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Sometimes, treatments include all three procedures and even more. There has been a move over the last twenty years of how surgery is being done for breast cancer patients. The surgery used to be inpatient with several days of recovery. With new medical advances, the surgery has been moved to outpatient lasting only a day in the hospital. The surgery is done in one day, unlike surgery associated with ovarian cancer, and the patient is taken home to start the recovery process.

Although this process seems beneficial in many ways, the emotional and informational needs of women are not always being met. Women feel like the need to have more information about the procedure before it happens and even after it happens. They do not feel like they go home completely understanding how to take care of themselves. Emotionally, women feel like they are being pushed out of the door when it comes to day outpatient surgery. The nurses are concerned about closing time at six instead of patients that are throwing up on their way out. They feel like post-surgery care should be better, especially since they are going home to take care of themselves.

Method, Sample, and Setting

The method used in this study was to interview the participants. The sample that was taken for this study was a group of women who had outpatient surgery related to breast cancer. These surgeries include lumpectomy, partial mastectomy to full mastectomy. The women were interviewed about six months after their procedure took place. The sample had nineteen women who were recruited. The setting where the authors got these women for the study was from a regional health board in Eastern Canada.

Data Collection

All of the interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim after the interviews. The transcripts were then analyzed using the qualitative content analysis approach outline by Hsieh and Shannon.


In order for the procedures to take place, ethical approval was obtained from the Human Investigation Committee to conduct this type of study. Pre-operative intake nurses asked patients if they were interested in partaking in this study. There were twenty-nine women that said they would be interested in this study and gave the intake nurses consent to submit their names for the study. When the six months waiting period was over, the authors tried to make contact with the twenty-nine women. Only nineteen agreed to participate in the study because one had deceased, six decided they did not want to be in this study, and three could not be reached. Before the interviews could begin, each participant had to give written consent in order to be in this study. Five interviews were completed on the phone and fourteen were completed face to face.

Enhancement of Trustworthiness

Because of the ethical approval obtained from the Human Investigation Committee, the study seems to have a very strong sense of trustworthiness. The women knew that providing consent to be in this study that the people conducting the research took their work seriously.

Results, Findings, and Summary

Overall findings included that women were satisfied with the actual surgery itself being done in one day. The women were shocked at first when they found out and then accepted the fact very quickly. The findings also included that women felt they needed more informational and emotional needs met by the caretakers. Most women said they got their emotional support from family members and spouses.