Effects of breast cancer diagnosis on patient’s lifestyles at Uganda cancer institute in Mulago
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This research study was conducted from Mulago Cancer Institute to assess the effect of breast cancer diagnosis on lifestyle of patients. The study required an understanding of the physical body changes of patients after breast cancer diagnosis, to find out the health seeking behaviour of breast cancer patients after diagnosis, examining the emotional overload of patients and to establish their social relations. In order to achieve this, data was collected through both interviewing breast cancer patients who were specifically women because they are the most affected by breast cancer though rare cases of men exist and key informants that included doctors, nurses, care givers and counselors. Information was also got from patients files. 25 respondents were involved in this study. A purposive sampling technique was used to select the respondents. An ethnographic research design was used for data collection and analysis. The data was manually analyzed basing on the themes and contents. The study findings revealed that breast cancer diagnosis has a great effect on the lifestyle of patients in terms of change in their physical bodies. All the patients interviewed had change in the color, body shape and loss of hair. Health seeking behaviour is affected by the high cost of treatment that forces most of the patients to go for herbal medicine, emotions are very high on patients after diagnosis because of the fear associated with breast cancer and their social relations are affected because of the effects of breast cancer on them and the societal perception of breast cancer. The study also revealed late presentation of the disease because of lack of knowledge about breast cancer and less perception on the seriousness of the disease. Also lack of awareness of the symptoms of breast cancer. There is need for government to expand the cancer centers to cater for the growing incidence rate of breast cancer and increase awareness about the disease.