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Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem

On-line version ISSN 1518-8345


ANJOS, Anna Cláudia Yokoyama dos  and  ZAGO, Márcia Maria Fontão. The cancer chemotherapy experience in a patient's view. Rev. Latino-Am. Enfermagem [online]. 2006, vol.14, n.1, pp.33-40. ISSN 1518-8345.

This study aimed to understand the meaning of chemotherapy from the patient's point of view, based on the postulates of interpretative anthropology and ethnographic case study. A breast cancer patient was selected on the basis of predetermined criteria, the most important of which was that the patient should be initiating the chemotherapy treatment in order to be followed. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews, observations and a field diary. Data analysis involved two phases: first, we identified the units of meaning; then, we organized the meaning attributed to the cancer chemotherapy experience in the patients' point of view, which was the "loss of life control". This meaning stressed the changes in the patient's social role, especially the difficulties to provide financial support to the family and the relationship with her children. This study highlights the importance of nursing care throughout the whole chemotherapy treatment, as well as the importance of nurses recognizing sociocultural influences and including them in the care plan.

Keywords : patients; neoplasms-therapy; drug therapy; anthropology [cultural]; nursing.

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