The World Health Organization records indicate that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women both in developed and developing regions of the world. In developed countries, breast cancer is the second cause of cancer-related deaths, whereas in developing countries, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in women. The empirical literature on Nigeria indicates that women present with advanced stages of the illness.
To explore the health-seeking behaviors of Southwestern Nigerian women with advanced breast cancer from the time they noticed a breast abnormality to their eventual presentation at the hospital for the management of the illness.
Thirty women with advanced stages of breast cancer in a large tertiary, referral, teaching, and university-affiliated Southwestern Nigeria Hospital were purposively selected for study participation. Participants completed a demographic information form and an in-depth face-to-face, one-on-one, semistructured interview guided by open-ended questions. Data analysis was inductive.
Findings revealed that women sought divine interventions for the management of breast cancer. Prayer and spirituality were associated with high levels of optimism among the study participants.
Nurses should provide information and counseling to women and the general public on the etiology and appropriate management of breast abnormalities and include the importance of a spiritual dimension of care.
Findings indicate the need to introduce a spiritual dimension to the care of women with advanced breast cancer. Findings also indicate the need for a comprehensive population-based breast health education.