The authors, Janice Philips and Marlene Z. Corlene, are both qualified for this research. Philips is a nursing researcher and research associate while Corlene is an Associate Dean for Research in Nursing. The title for this research, “The Meaning of Breast Cancer Risk for African American Women,” was appropriate because it captures the purpose and forms basis for research question of the study.
The authors present a clear overview of the entire research in their abstract section. They set off by giving the current global prevalence of breast cancer. They recognize that breast cancer is relatively high among African American women despite the technological advancement in detection, diagnosis, and treatment. There is also a significant mention of the current limited research pertaining to the research question of this particular study.
Statement of purpose
The purpose of this study was to describe the experience of African American for being at high risk for breast cancer. This article can be regarded a high-quality qualitative research article because it covers a topic that been modestly studied, and explores meaning and subjective experience of the participants. It is exploratory in natures and uses hermeneutic phenomenological approach to guide in-depth interviews and analysis. Interpretations of findings are by subjective and reflexive approach.
Purpose of the research
The purpose of this research was to describe the meaning and experience of being at high risk for breast cancer (personal history, family history, and genetic mutation) for African American women under the age of 40. The research question is well crafted to understand the lived experience of African American women with breast cancer and meeting the purpose of the research.
The authors begin by clearly establishing the critical nature of breast cancer as the number one killer disease among women between ages 20 and 59 years in high-income countries. They note that there is limited research on breast cancer risk perceptions and related behaviors among young African American women having highest risk. The research clearly addresses the research question i.e. the meaning and experience of being high risk for breast cancer for African American women under the age of 40 years. The authors also appreciate the insufficiency of researches using qualitative approach to examine the meaning of being high risk.
Significance of the research
The study has significant clinical relevance because a clear understanding of the experience and meaning of being high risk of breast cancer among young African American women would encourage healthy lifestyles, early screenings and detection, instantaneous follow-up for suspicious findings, and adherence to recommended breast cancer surveillance for this population (Philips & Cohen, 2011).
The sample of the research included twenty high-risk African American women aged between 23 and 40 years with an established family history, personal history or genetic mutation of breast cancer. Qualitatively, it can be argued that the small sample of twenty participants enabled the research team to easily gain better comprehension of the population’s lived experience (Philips & Cohen, 2011).
This study lacks a literature review section. This can be explained from the authors’ appreciation of lack of previous related research on the topic.
The interviewers screened the participants for eligibility and interest via telephone, after the consenting participants were interviewed in person in a setting of their choosing such as their home or researcher’s office.
The research team used hermeneutic phenomenological, descriptive, together with interpretive research methods. The authors have described the data collection methods to the reader. The choice of these research methods was appropriate considering the research aimed to determine how the participants interpret their lives and draw meaning of their experience with breast cancer. The qualitative research methods were particularly effective in gathering the culturally specific information about the opinions, values, behaviors and social context of the given population regarding to breast cancer. Interpretive approach, in particular, was best placed to comprehend the phenomena through the meaning that the population assigns to them. Similarly, use of the phenomenology enabled the researches to focus the lived experienced of the participants and find a true picture of their individual point of view relating to their vulnerability and impact of breast cancer to their lives (Philips & Cohen, 2011). However, the hermeneutic phenomenological method has weakness in terms of bias in selection of sample given that the participants were handpicked, which compromises their representational element of the experience of the larger African American population.
Findings of the study
The authors have presented the findings consistently and addressed the purpose of the study appropriately. The study found that twelve out of the 20 participants had a known personal history of breast cancer whilst the remaining eight admitted family history of the disease. The women with known history were diagnosed at between ages 20 and 37. Thirteen of them were unmarried; all had a high school education while nine were holders of college degrees. Five were on Medicaid program; 14 on private insurance while one woman had a state-issued women’s health card qualifying for women’s health services only. Eight women reported having a first-degree relative with breast cancer whilst two participants reported having three or more first-degree relatives with the disease.
According to the authors, all participants described dealing with breast cancer as a life-changing experience. Living with breast cancer was also said to have both positive and negative impact of the women’s relationships with significant others, families, and children. Participants also shared their healthcare experience in terms of high cost of surveillance/treatment and positive/negative relationship with healthcare providers. Majority of the women cited a higher power as their great source of strength in their dealing with breast cancer. The results largely compliment the research question by describing the lived experiences of African American women at high-risk of breast cancer.
The research ensured scientific rigor through such procedures as validation of themes with several participants and between the research team members. Consensus was reached between both authors of the article, and exhaustive interviews were done following the qualitative research criterion.
Authors’ Interpretation of Results
The authors held that the results of their study highlighted the significance of education and sensitization of healthcare providers relating to incidence of breast cancer among younger women along with their unique needs. They stressed the need for more breast health programs addressing unique support and resource needs of young African American women. As such, contemporary programs ought to evaluate the meaning of breast cancer risk when formulating breast health programs for such high-risk populations (Philips & Cohen, 2011).
Implications for the students’ personal nursing practice
The study enriches the learner’s individual nursing practice by providing detailed insight into the experience and meaning of high-risk of African American for being at high risk for breast cancer. The student is able to understand the gap in the research areas and understand the point of view of the populations as relates to the disease.
The referencing of all sources referred to in the study was done in the correct manner following the APA standard.