Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women worldwide. Despite considerable research, there is still need for improved patient-centred care. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there were any typical experiences that characterized the lives of the women that we interviewed. Information was collected 1 year after and 9 years after primary breast cancer surgery. Interview data were analysed using Kvale’s method of qualitative meaning condensation. The findings were discussed in light of Martinsen’s philosophy of caring. Three main themes were prominent both 1 and 9 years after surgery: being changed, being unprepared, and living in suspense. However, these typical experiences were often expressed differently. A profound understanding of both similarities and uniqueness in women’s experiences when being treated for breast cancer is vital for health care professionals when supporting women to live with a cancer diagnosis. More information about side effects is needed to prepare these women for a changed life.

Keywords: breast cancer, health care professionals, philosophy of caring, qualitative research, survivors