Patient's perception of the helpfulness of education materials for breast cancer
Heck, Kimberly Keough
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Breast cancer is the most widely diagnosed cancer among women and the second leading cause of death after lung cancer. "Many women with cancer describe the moment they found out about their diagnosis as truly devastating" (National Breast Cancer Organization [NBCO], 2000, p.1). There are numerous ways in which women cope during this upsetting time. Two ways to help women cope is to encourage them to understand their new diagnosis through education and exploring all available treatment options. There is a shortage of documentation on breast cancer education and few studies have examined patients' perception of breast cancer education. The target population for this study was adult women with a diagnosis of breast cancer who received treatment from a medium sized northwestern cancer clinic. The population and the sample consisted of residents from urban and rural regions of central Montana. A convenience sample of persons eighteen years and older consisting of the 168 women who are on the breast cancer survivors' monthly mailing at the cancer clinic were invited to participate in the study; the actual sample consisted of 59 women. The sample was self-selecting and participation was voluntary. A descriptive, retrospective, cross-sectional design was used as the framework for this study. The questionnaire that was developed for this study was used to collect data that explored participants' perceptions of the education received. Participants were asked where they received their education about breast cancer and 71.2% said that they received their educational materials from the cancer treatment facility. A large majority (79.7%) indicated that immediately after breast cancer diagnosis they felt ready to learn. Almost half (42.4%) felt acceptance of their breast cancer diagnosis. A total of 63% felt that their educational materials were either very helpful or helpful.