The breath of life - Womens' experiences of breathing adapted radiation therapy.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE: To describe and analyze how women with breast cancer experience breathing adapted radiation therapy (BART) and to explore how women manage daily radiation therapy. METHOD: Individual interviews were conducted with 20 women treated with BART for breast cancer concerning their perception of radiation therapy. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: 'The breath of life' was the overall theme, as the women experienced the breathing as a way in which to influence their treatment and thus their survival. 'Participating in one's treatment, for good or ill', was the main category with four subcategories, 'Knowing one has done something good', 'Getting an extra bonus - healthwise', 'The experience of being in control' and 'Being in a high-technology environment'. The breathing technique became the strategy by which they could manage their treatment and gave them a sense of participation which led to a feeling of being in control. The women also felt that breathing benefited their health both mentally and physically. The high-technology environment was experienced as both hopeful and frightening. CONCLUSION: Survival or increasing the chances of survival, are of ultimate importance for a woman with breast cancer. BART requires commitment from the women, which was perceived as offering them an opportunity to participate in their own treatment, for their survival. Increasing the women's possibilities to participate in their treatment benefits their health and welfare during an otherwise turbulent time and allow the rehabilitation process to start during treatment.


External organisations
  • Malmö University
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-359
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch