Living with breast cancer: Policy practices and recommendations

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2016




The main aim of this thesis is to understand experiences, troubles and needs of women with breast cancer and caregivers. It will also attempt to make evidence-based health and social policy recommendations in order to enhance their quality of life and care. For these ends, current cancer related health and social policies of different countries and Turkey are reviewed and these countries are classified into four groups according to their scores in Human Development index. Also, semi structured in-depth interviews are conducted with 16 women with breast cancer, 7 caregivers from family members and 4 experts in Ankara and Izmir. This study reveals that there are physical, psychological, economic and familial impacts of breast cancer on patients and caregivers. Also, there are several institutional deficiencies which adversely influence the quality of life and care of women with breast cancer and caregivers. Based on findings of the field study and review of ongoing cancer policies from different countries, this thesis recommends evidence-based health and social policy regulations. These recommendations are as follows: introduction of personalized treatment, a regular assistance for housework and cooking, nationwide transportation system, legal arrangements regulating working lives of patients and caregivers, continuous psycho-oncological support and follow-up plans, regular familial therapies, a compulsory training program to develop communication skills of oncology professionals, elimination of inequalities among hospitals, cities and regions in terms of infrastructure and human resources, development of new informative channels, establishment of a national database about the treatment process and an international database including social policy regulations about cancer and also increase the role of social workers in breast cancer treatment process.