PUBLI : Clémence Schantz, Louise Ludet, Luis Teixeira et Gaëtan des Guetz, « Therapeutic mobility and breast cancer in France : Experiences of African women », SSM-Qualitative Research in Health, vol. 4, 2023


While breast cancer is the most common cancer globally, not all women have access to quality care. Long consi­dered a disease of high-income coun­tries, low- and middle-income coun­tries are now facing a major public health issue regar­ding cancer. This is the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where access to quality breast cancer treat­ment is often lacking. This context leads some women to travel abroad, parti­cu­larly to France, hoping to save their lives. This article aims to examine the expe­riences, the social cost and the percep­tions asso­ciated with thera­peutic mobi­lity for breast cancer in France. To this end, this study uses a quali­ta­tive method based on nine­teen biogra­phical inter­views with women from sub-Saharan Africa with breast cancer who have migrated to France seeking for treat­ment. It shows that these women often face signi­fi­cant diffi­cul­ties throu­ghout their care and life paths in France. Main issues lay in acces­sing care, housing inse­cu­rity, lone­li­ness, and admi­nis­tra­tive insta­bi­lity. This reflects how the double biogra­phical disrup­tion, caused by cancer and migra­tion, impact entire disease trajec­to­ries, from entry to care to post-breast cancer period. With this research, we suggest exten­ding the concept of social death to the issue of women who have under­gone thera­peutic mobi­lity for their breast cancer in France. High­ligh­ting the expe­riences of women who remain almost invi­sible in the public arena, this article analyses poorly heard reali­ties and shows how social inequa­li­ties in health can be found even in recons­truc­ting oneself after breast cancer.

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