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Identifying the Educational Needs and Concerns of Newly Diagnosed Patients With Breast Cancer After Surgery

Patrice A. Stephens
Maryjo Osowski
Mary Sue Fidale
Cathy Spagnoli
CJON 2008, 12(2), 253-258 DOI: 10.1188/08.CJON.253-258

Many factors may interfere with the ability of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer to cope with treatment. Nurses should be aware of patients' needs during this critical time. The purpose of this study was to identify the educational needs and concerns of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer after surgery. A phone interview with patients was conducted approximately one week after breast cancer surgery. A convenience sample of 200 patients was recruited from four hospitals within a large midwestern healthcare system. The subjects were interviewed by breast health specialists and navigators involved in their education and support and were asked to participate in a short interview during a surgical follow-up phone call. Study results indicate that fear of recurrence and anxiety regarding postoperative treatments accounted for more than 65% of the responses to the question "What concerns you most about your new diagnosis?" Emotional, social, and physical limitations were identified as most important in dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. As breast health specialists and navigators, nurses can improve the quality of care for women with breast cancer and their families by providing additional support services and post-treatment information during the initial education and follow-up call.

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