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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Cynthia Jacelon

Second Advisor

Rae Walker

Third Advisor

Sally A. Galman

Subject Categories

Geriatric Nursing


Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore how older breast cancer survivors made meaning from daily activities and their attitudes to life and behaviors in it.

Method: Secondary data was analyzed from nine older women with breast cancer. Data on living women was used to elicit the influence of breast cancer on survivors' attitudes and behaviors.

Results: Eight significant themes were identified that were related to breast cancer meanings, attitudes to it, and behaviors that impact participants' survivorship; breast cancer means death or being close to death, survivor-provider relationships, social support, the meaning of dignity or a good prognosis, grief attitudes, everyday work, and biographical work.

Findings: The meaning of dignity and good prognosis could impact older breast cancer survivors' inner views and behaviors. However, throughout the survivorship years, the good prognosis could be interrupted by other influence factors that altered the inner views of the women.

Implications: Healthcare systems must enhance their interventions to involve dignity in the care of older breast cancer survivors and offer accessible programs for them. In addition, future research must use a meaning framework to represent the making-meaning process and rethink the use of coexistence instead of the accept concept because the term coexistence describes deeply the adaptation state of anyone who has experienced a traumatic event such as breast cancer.