What are the psychosocial and educational needs of a breast cancer patient?
In the United States, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer that women are diagnosed with (Stephens, Osowski, Fidale, & Spagnoli, 2008). Those diagnosed tend to go through stages of fear, disbelief, shock, and sadness. “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”(Stephens, Osowski, Fidale, & Spagnoli, 2008). Psychosocial issues can interfere with the patient’s ability to cope with their treatment and may cause anxiety, panic, vulnerability, ...view middle of the document...
Deficient knowledge related to breast cancer education may also be evident. Another aspect of diagnosis and treatment was the need for clarity of information. “Women explained they had trouble 'focusing' after receiving information and of different interpretations about what they had heard”(Coyne, & Borbasi, 2009). Anxiety may be present because of the patients’ future concerns, upcoming treatments, and family issues. Fear may also be an issue related to the risk for lymphedema and future recurrence of breast cancer in the other breast or metastasis to other areas of the body. Body image disturbance will be a diagnosis for patients electing to have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and those who develop lymphedema.
Because breast cancer patients do not have a lot of preparatory time before surgery, they need a lot of psychosocial support and education. Building rapport with these patients is a key element to gaining their trust and helping them understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Many women obtained their information, which they used to help make their surgical decisions, from the interactions with the AOCN (Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse) and surgeons during their surgical consultation, later they reviewed the informational materials to further educate themselves (Lally, RM., 2009). Many women may be reluctant to ask information in regard to their diagnosis and treatment, therefore it is pertinent that the nurse ask questions such as, "What information can I provide?” or “How can I best help you at this time?" Using open-ended questions allows the patient to open up about their concerns.
Nurses should evaluate the patient’s response and develop a care plan based on the psychosocial and educational needs of the patient. Each patient is unique, such as one patient may be well-educated on breast cancer from a previous experience with a family member, and another may not have any knowledge since they have not had any experience with this disease. Another very important aspect to keep in mind is how this person accepts information. Do they understand what they are being told, or are they more receptive to watching informational videos or reading pamphlets on this material?
During consultations, nurses can derive from the patient their psychosocial needs as well. Asking questions about their concerns will open up the discussion where the nurse can identify their anxiety level, upcoming fears, body image issues, and coping strategies. Statistics from research show that 38% of respondents reported fear of recurrence as their greatest concern; 31% expressed anxiety regarding the operative and postoperative treatment; and 20% were concerned with their future (Stephens, Osowski, Fidale, & Spagnoli, 2008).
The nurse should monitor responses and body language while...