Introduction: Mothers, sisters, and daughters of women diagnosed with breast cancer have an increased need for factual information, counseling, and emotional support. The purpose of this exploratory, descriptive study was to identify the information and support needs of Israeli women with a family history of breast cancer; discover whether these needs have been met, by whom, and who is the preferred source for them.
Methods: 128 healthy Israeli women, aged 18–65, with a first degree relative with breast cancer completed the adapted Information and Support Needs Questionnaire (ISNQ).
Results: Information needs were ranked above support needs, especially information about disease prevention. The degree to which the needs were met was generally ranked as low, with response to the information needs ranking higher than the response to the support needs. The doctor was the prime source of choice for the information and support needs.
Conclusion: This study contributes to the understanding of the needs of patients' families, provides a framework for the improvement of methods of communication, and a basis for constructing information and support systems. In addition, it highlights the need for a multidisciplinary, proactive approach in health promotion for cancer patients' families. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.