A Psychosocial Assessment of a Breast Cancer Patient The Case of Irene Introduction Every woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer normally becomes anxious, depressed, and distraught. As stated by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the serious attributes of a breast cancer diagnosis will in a number of women qualify to the conditions of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as an “exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor” (Sadler-Gerhardt et al…
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This paper carries out a psychosocial assessment of Irene’s case, a 51-year old female who is diagnosed with breast cancer. After identifying major psychosocial issues using Spade’s framework a treatment plan is formulated and discussed. Psychosocial Vital Signs Perception: Due to her age Irene may overestimate her current illness. According to the profile, she is already experiencing some levels of anxiety due to the absence of counselling. Perhaps due to the absence of her two children, and the limited support that her husband can give her, Irene perceives her health condition as life-threatening and something extremely depressing. Personality Style: Irene shows needs for protection and support. Yet she shows a degree of determination and optimism. She assures herself every now and then that she will be okay. But then relapses to depression when she thinks of her relationship with her husband after the surgery. She afterwards becomes bitter because of the thought that her husband will be disappointed of her and see her unattractive after the surgery. Irene displays efforts to hide or repress her emotions. Support: The current support that Irene has comes from her husband, whom she lives with, her surgeon, and her breast care nurse. Later on, after the surgery, Irene will be supported by a multidisciplinary team. Other possible sources of support are her children and other close relatives. Due to the constant support from her husband, Irene’s perception of her health condition erratically shifts from lack of concern to anxiety. Coping: Irene seems to be coping with her health illness by seeking for social support and controlling her emotions. Anxiety: Irene is experiencing four major anxieties. First is the thought that her husband will be dissatisfied of her after the surgery; second is the possibility of surgical failure; third is her belief that old age brings many infirmities; and fourth is the thought that due to her age she will be experiencing other illnesses aside from breast cancer. Cultural Issues: The diagnosis evidently affects Irene’s self-worth as a woman. She obviously adheres to the assumption that women’s breasts are marks of womanliness and beauty. Hence Irene seems to be having second thoughts about seeking treatment. Lifestyle Information: She currently lives with her husband .She works as a receptionist at a plumbing supply store. She is a non-smoker and drinks two glasses of wine each week. As shown in the profile, there seems to be no indication that Irene will develop breast cancer. Major issues risked by the current health event for Mike: Irene’s diagnosis has perhaps the same psychosocial effects on her as those of Mike. Mike, early on in the diagnosis, displays signs of distress and despair. Irene’s health condition may also lead to marital problems, severe financial or resource constraints, and family maladjustments. Based on Irene’s psychosocial vital signs, three major psychological needs are identified, which are (1) support for psychological distress, (2) appropriate coping strategies, (3) and psychosocial support for Irene’s husband and entire family. The psychosocial assessment identifies anxiety and despair as the most obvious
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