The Meaning of Survivorship as Defined by African American Breast Cancer Survivors

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Abstract

Background:

While there is an abundance of cancer survivorship research among various racial/ethnic groups, there is a paucity of research on survivors of African descent. To date, the meaning of survivorship has not been reported exclusively among African American breast cancer survivors (AABCS).

Purpose:

The purpose was to describe and understand the meaning of survivorship among community-dwelling AABCS, mostly recruited from breast cancer support groups.

Method:

Using a qualitative descriptive approach, an open-ended questionnaire explored the meaning of survivorship among 155 AABCS. An analysis of the content was performed.

Results:

Among AABCS, survivorship meant having a strong spiritual base, thriving, being resilient, and being altruistic. The survivors self-identified with and embraced the term survivor.

Conclusions:

These results provide an important understanding of the perspectives and meaning of survivorship among AABCS and may assist in developing cancer survivorship care plans that are relevant, responsive, patient centered, and culturally appropriate.

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