Cancer Science & Research


Distinguishing change in self-perception by Self-Figure Drawings in Subjects Who Underwent Different Breast Cancer Treatments

Barel-Shoshani Ziva Ariela, Kreitler Shulamith.

Background and Objective: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Western society. Advances in medicine and technology have led to a significant reduction in the mortality rate. Hence, it is important to address the psychological consequences of the disease in breast cancer survivors. The purpose was to identify differences in the Machover Draw-A- Person (DAP) test in breast cancer survivors pre-post cancer. It was assumed that the various kinds of available treatments may affect their bodies differently and hence also their body image and self image.

Materials and Methods: The Machover Draw-A-Person (DAP) test was administered to 72 breast cancer survivors twice: first they were asked to draw themselvse today, then they were asked to draw themselves as they had seen themselves pre-illness. The features in the self figure drawings of subjects who had undergone different medical treatments were compared.

Results: The following indicators in the drawings distinguished significantly between subjects in the pre and post phases: hair signs for chemotherapy; mouth and breast signs in for surgical procedures. More signs of mouth and breast omission in DAP at present compared to retrospective DAP characterized the drawing of subjects who underwent mastectomy. In contrast, fewer signs of mouth and breast omission in DAP at present compared to the retrospective DAP characterized the drawings of the subjects who underwent breast conserving surgery. There were head line outline differences in the two administered DAPs for radiotherapy treatment among subjects who had undergone mastectomy.

Conclusion: It is suggested that the projective tool Machover Draw-A-Person test could be used as an aid for identifying changes in self portrayal features that may be interpreted as manifesting changes in self image and could be applied for planning an intervention for alleviating the distress of structuring supportive care to alleviate the distress of breast cancer survivors.

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