Giving Women a Voice in Healthcare: The Unmet Needs of Young Women Living with Breast Cancer
Kate Pounders, University of Texas at Austin
Catherine Coleman, Texas Christian University
Katherine Sredl, Loyola University Chicago
Award Amount: $2,500
Abstract:Following diagnosis of a life-threatening illness consumer identities are profoundly disrupted. Young adolescents experience unique psychosocial needs based on the cultural arc of this life stage, which is typically rife with life changes related to career, romantic relationships, and starting families. Additionally, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer results in the body undergoing significant transformations and thus offers a rich context for identifying the challenges that young women living with the breast cancer experience. Through in-depth interviews with difficult to access populations, specifically LGBTQIA+ women and women of color who are between ages 21 and 40 and are living with breast cancer, this work aims to further identify and understand the needs and challenges these women experience in treatment, how meanings are socially ascribed to female bodies, and how healthcare experiences might be (mis)aligned with gendered experiences of cancer treatment. Our goal is to use our findings to contribute to health care policy so that it may better align with patient needs, thereby transforming patient experiences of diagnosis and treatment.