Journal of Sustainable Social Change


The lack of consistent access to breast cancer care and treatment remains a significant problem for women diagnosed with breast cancer in Sierra Leone. The instability of the political structure has created an environment with a high level of illiteracy and financial hardship among the female population, resulting in a significant deficiency in information relating to symptoms and the detection of breast cancer. To study the lived experience of women living in Sierra Leone who were diagnosed with breast cancer, I [the first author] used a descriptive phenomenological approach. I conducted semi-structured interviews based on Andersen and Newman’s healthcare utilization model, identifying predisposing, enabling, and need factors (Andersen & Newman, 1973). I recruited 10 participants by placing flyers in two organizations supporting breast cancer patients and used snowball sampling. Findings from the study showed that participants were aware of breast cancer and the risks associated with delayed cancer treatment. Social structures were identified as the main contributors to accessing breast cancer screening and selecting a health facility for treatment. Perceptions of affordability, quality of services, and recommendations by previous clients simultaneously influenced the selection of a health facility. The findings may assist health systems with addressing access to breast cancer care and treatment for women in Sierra Leone. Government officials may utilize the findings from this study to develop healthcare policies regarding access to breast cancer treatment.