The recent literature shows an increase of breast cancer in women under 50, however still few are the studies which analyse the impact of the disease in this specific target age. This study aims at exploring the most prevalent topics in Italian cancer blogs of women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis before the age of 50, in order to understand their experience of illness and the characteristics of women’s narrations at different times after diagnosis (1 year, 2 years, 3 years). We collected the textual corpus of 4 Italian breast cancer blogs and performed a thematic analysis. Five themes resulted, which, after interpretation using factorial mapping, fall into 3 sense vectors: toward the thought of the experience; from the external to the internal world; breast cancer: from rigidity to mobility. The blog analysis allows to build a first step of the scientific knowledge about the traumatic specificity of this experience, showing a need for processing the emotions. This allows to think about clinical support practices tailored to this group, in order to develop a diachronic processing of the experience and the construction of a new continuity of life.


Breast Cancer, Younger Women, Cancer Blog, Narrative, Trauma Experience

Author Bio(s)

Maria Luisa Martino, PhD, is Principal Investigator of IMPRONTE Project - Breast Cancer Women: Innovative Model for Processing Traumatic Experience - at the Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Naples Federico II, Italy. Her research field is Clinical Health Psychology. She focuses on the life-threatening illness as potential traumatic experience. She deals with psychological research-intervention in hospital institutions with particular regard to the use and evaluation of different narrative devices as tools to promote wellbeing. Adopting quali-quantitative methods, she deepens models of processing the traumatic experience of illness based on the construction of meaning-making processes. Please direct correspondence to marialuisa.martino@unina.it.

Anna Gargiulo, PhD in Gender Studies, is Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Naples Federico II, Italy. Visiting Researcher at Centre of Cultural Psychology of Aalborg University Denmark. Visiting Ph.D. Student at Medical University of Vienna. Psychology, Psychotherapist in training at IIPG (Italian Institute of Psychoanalysis Group). Adopting quali-quantitative methods, she studies the women's psychological health, deepening the experience of breast cancer and self-harming behaviors, also within virtual communities. Please direct correspondence to anna.gargiulo2@unina.it.

Daniela Lemmo, Psychologist, PhD in Gender Studies, is Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Naples Federico II, Italy. Her research activity field is Clinical and Health Psychology with a particular focus on women’s experiences and narratives about oncological prevention and breast cancer. Her studies are dedicated to women’s health in a gender perspective. She works with narrative devices as tools to promote well-being and adaptation to illness experience. Also, her scientific production, adopting a quali-quantivative methods, regards the themes of genetic mutation, oncological screening and breast cancer at a young age. Please direct correspondence to daniela.lemmo@unina.it.

Giorgia Margherita is Researcher in Psychodynamic Psychology at Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Naples Federico II, Italy. She teaches Dynamic Psychology on the Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. Psychoanalytic-oriented Psychotherapist, member of IIPG (Italian Institute of Psychoanalysis Group) and of EFPP (European Federation for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the Public Sector). Her research activity is related to the psychodynamic of groups, the psychopathology in online environments, narrative methods. She has also written books and articles on these topics, published in national and international journals. Please direct correspondence to margheri@unina.it.


Funding: This research was carried out in the frame of Programme STAR, financially supported by UniNA and Compagnia di San Paolo.

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