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Mastectomy is a treatment option for patients diagnosed with breast cancer. There is very limited research into the psychosocial impact of mastectomy on female breast cancer patients, especially in the sub-Saharan African setting which has unique cultural norms. The study aimed at assessing the psychosocial impact of mastectomy on female breast cancer patients attending a radiotherapy/oncology centre in Ghana.
A cross-sectional design was used to undertake this study. A total of 80 female mastectomy breast cancer patients participated in this study. A semi-structured questionnaire was used for data collection over a 5-month period, January to May 2018. The data collected were analysed with Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 22.
Most of the participants were adversely affected psychologically and emotionally by mastectomy. In particular, many (56·7%) agreed that they felt less feminine, and 71% reported they experienced psychological distress as a result of their mastectomy, while 63% of them reported loss of self-confidence. A large proportion of them (51, 63·8%) agreed that their lifestyles had changed following mastectomy, while 58% of them admitted that they felt treated as outcasts by society, and 75% resorted to the use of breast prostheses to reduce attention.
The study revealed that mastectomy for breast cancer patients had a negative impact on their psychological, emotional and social well-being. The availability of affordable breast prostheses, involvement of clinical psychologists in the care of post-mastectomy women, provision of emotional, psychological and even financial support could alleviate the psychosocial impact of affected women.
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