"Let it be final how I want it to be final"
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This study aims to explore the experiences and attitudes of women who have received surgical treatment for uterine fibroids. The women have either had surgery to remove their uterus (hysterectomy) or surgery to remove the fibroids while retaining the uterus (myomectomy). It is estimated that symptomatic uterine fibroids affect about thirty percent of all women, and in the United States they account for around 70% of the estimated 600,000 hysterectomies carried out each year. Using a qualitative long-interview approach this study attempts to understand women’s role in the decision and treatment process, and how values and experiences differ by treatment type. Eighteen women participated in the study and an analysis of patterns in the themes resulting from the data suggests there were differences between the two groups of women that require further investigation. These include the type and severity of symptoms from the fibroids, a woman’s financial situation and level of health insurance, the level of empowerment she feels when facing authority figures, the attitudes she and those around her have toward the female body, and her level of information about topics such as fibroids, treatment options, and female anatomy. The opinions of doctors may well be an important factor in treatment decisions, but it is concluded that much greater attention needs to be paid to the women patients and their influence on outcomes.