(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – A new study published recently in the Journal of Advanced Nursing reports on patient experiences with the confounding condition ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-invasive breast condition where cancer cells are detected but confined to the ducts of the breast. The article entitled “The shifting nature of women’s experiences and perceptions of ductal carcinoma in situ” is a descriptive qualitative study of the evolution of women’s perceptions and experiences of DCIS from the period closest to diagnosis through one year later.

The study authors wrote: “with treatment, DCIS has a positive prognosis, but ironically, patients undergo treatment similar to that for invasive breast cancer. There is a lack of longitudinal qualitative research studying women’s experiences of ductal carcinoma in situ, especially among newly diagnosed patients, and how experiences change over time.”

The study had an interview approach. In this study, 45 women took part in an initial interview following a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ and 27 took part in a follow-up interview 9–13 months later. Interviews were conducted and data collected between January 2007 and October 2008. Interviews were transcribed and the transcripts were analyzed using a hybrid approach to thematic analysis.

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The study found that women’s early perceptions of ductal carcinoma in situ merged and sometimes conflicted with their lay beliefs of breast cancer. The investigator also found that the study participants’ perceptions and experiences of DCIS shifted over time. Four themes emerged from the study and were common across all the interviews: (i) perceptions of ductal carcinoma in situ vs. breast cancer, (ii) from paradox to acceptance, (iii) personal impact, and (iv) support and interactions with others.

The authors concluded: “This study represents one of the few longitudinal qualitative studies with newly diagnosed patients, capturing women’s initial and shifting experiences and perceptions of the condition. The issues identified need to be recognized in clinical practice and supported appropriately.”