Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Sandra Rigazio-DiGilio

Associate Advisor

Laura Donorfio

Associate Advisor

Keith Bellizzi

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies

Open Access

Campus Access


This study explores women’s experiences across the breast cancer continuum witha particular focus on understanding women’s perceptions of the medical and socialsupport networks that facilitate and constrain the provision of patient-centered careduring young adulthood. Using a phenomenological qualitative research design, 23women diagnosed with breast cancer between the ages of 18 to 39 years old wereinterviewed regarding their experiences with breast cancer from the point of diagnosisthrough recurrence and/or survivorship. Women were asked to discuss their perceptionsof self, medical and social support networks, and self in relation to medical and socialsupport networks across the breast cancer continuum and through present day. Womenwere asked to describe their perceptions about the real or assumed degree of power theyhad when engaging with healthcare and social support systems.