McGrath P.,Griffith Health Institute LO5 |
McGrath P.,Griffith University |
Rawson N.,Griffith Health Institute LO5 |
Rawson N.,Griffith University
Supportive Care in Cancer | Year: 2013
Purpose: To date, there has been limited research on the topic of vulvar cancer. This paper provides findings from a qualitative study conducted with Indigenous women in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia on the psychosocial impact of diagnosis and treatment for vulvar cancer. The insights from the study outlined in this paper not only make a contribution to deepening our understanding of the experience of vulvar cancer for Indigenous women, but provide practical recommendations to ensure effective and early engagement for diagnosis and treatment. Methods: A qualitative research method was employed through in-depth, open-ended interviews. The participants of the study were a purposive sample of Indigenous women with the condition, health professionals, and Aboriginal health workers. There were a total of 40 participants; with twelve (n = 12) Indigenous women affected with the condition, fourteen (n = 14) Aboriginal Health Workers, ten (n = 10) nurses, three (n = 3) doctors, and one (n = 1) community member. Results: This paper addresses three key issues highlighted by the participants which include the fact that the private nature of the disease makes the condition 'women's business', that there is a sense of shame associated with the condition, and that there is fear and worry generated by the seriousness of the condition. Conclusion: The private nature of the disease and the sense of shame associated with the condition impact upon the diagnosis and treatment for many Indigenous women. In addition, the limitation of resources for health service delivery for East Arnhem Land exacerbates the problems faced by these communities. This paper puts forward suggestions to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment for women affected with the condition. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.