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Qualitative Research, Community Surveys, Health Care System, Culture, Religion
Background: The purpose of this study was to examine religious, cultural, and social beliefs of healthy women about breast cancer in rural settings in Iran.
Methods: In the present study, 16 in-depth interviews with health care leaders, social and religious experts and 11 focus group discussions were conducted with 79 women in the rural areas near the capital city of Tehran, Iran. Grounded theory model was used to analyze the data.
Results: Some women believed that religious customs and rituals, such as praying, taking a vow, or going on a pilgrimage to a holy place, might have healing effects if performed in addition to seeking medical care medical care. Many believed that God intervenes in the entire course of any illness, from occurrence to cure. Although few had fatalistic views toward cancer, the majority believed that patients could try to change their destiny. With respect to the relationship between moral behavior and disease, 4 types of opinions were identified; good people suffer, evil people get punished, evil people do not suffer, and everything has a scientific explanation. Participants believed that self-perception, their husbands, deficiencies in the health care system, and financial concerns influence breast cancer outcome.Conclusions: Our study showed that many participants were not aware of any available support in the healthcare system. They generally believed in the healing effect of prayers, only when it is sought in parallel with medical care.
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