Danubius International Conferences, 13th International Conference on European Integration - Realities and Perspectives

Psychological Representation of Disease in Breast Cancer

Anisoara Petruta Decianu Cozman
Last modified: 2018-05-04


Cancer represents the second major cause of mortality worldwide, after cardiovascular disease. The most common type of cancer that affects women is the breast cancer. This article presents a study about different representations of cancer on diagnosed patients, nurses working on oncology and healthy family members. Previous and actual experience influence the content and structure of representation for all of us, so different individuals will have different psychological representation of the disease. Evaluation of psychological representation of breast cancer was based on Illness Perceptions Questionnaire (IPQ) described by Weinman in 1996 for all five stages of disease: identity, causes, evolution, consequences and control. Results reveal that nurses and family member got high scores on evolution, understanding that cancer is more like a chronic disease under treatment, but patients got low scores on evolution and control of cancer, thinking these are dictated by faith and luck. All participants got high results about identity, the most negative consequence is the impact on women’s image. This article presents unique interpretation and results about psychological differences in representation of cancer from perspective of patients, nurses and healthy persons and can contribute to improving both medical care and psychotherapy of suffering patients.