Risk and Uncertainty in Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Exploring Women's Experiences of DCIS
Blaxter (2010) highlights how diagnostic tests are increasingly able to identify potential diseases but in doing so create a dilemma of risks of acting and not-acting. Do women opt for surgery and live with the consequences? Or live with the uncertainty of whether breast cancer may develop?
The women who took part in this study were interviewed after the initial shock of diagnosis and treatment were over. This presented an opportunity to explore complex emotions regarding the decisions they made, including changes to their body which could not be wholly justified as life-saving; but only potentially so.
The study of the complex emotions involved in the experience of DCIS is timely because it relates to ongoing debates in the public arena regarding ‘unnecessary’ breast cancer treatment. It seems that now, more than ever, there is a need for better information and support for women during and after treatment for DCIS.