Battling Breast Cancer: Women’s Narratives of Struggle, Family Support and Survival from Rural Sindh, Pakistan
Keywords:Breast cancer, family support, Pakistan, patriarchy, rural Sindh
Breast cancer poses a major health risk to Pakistani women causing 40,000 deaths annually in Pakistan (Pink Ribbon 2019). Based on 40 in-depth interviews with women who have been treated for breast cancer from rural Sindh, this study explores the extent to which families, living in rural and less developed areas with poor socio-economic conditions, provide support to the patients. The results show that women as well as their husbands’ level of education and awareness is correlated to delayed access to medical services. Our findings show that husband’s support and empathy has a therapeutic effect on cancer patients. Women’s well-being and self-esteem was strongly associated with how men saw and dealt with their disease. Based on the findings, we recommend introducing awareness raising programmes and a well-integrated social support system to help the patients and particularly men who control women’s lives.