Studies show that younger women have a greater physical, psychological, and social morbidity, and poorer quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis than older women. With improving survival rates, cancer rehabilitation has an increasing role in the cancer care continuum, particularly for younger women who potentially have many productive years ahead of them. The purpose of this study was to assess the cancer rehabilitation needs of young women after breast cancer treatment.
In this qualitative, descriptive study, we purposefully sampled 35 breast cancer survivors diagnosed under the age of 50 in Atlantic Canada to participate in two telephone interviews.
Recommendations included: improved communication between the various healthcare professionals; healthcare professionals taking on a more proactive approach in recommending rehabilitation after treatment; better insurance coverage or financial assistance for rehabilitation services; and more rehabilitation support for rural populations.
Rehabilitation nurses can play an important role in educating patients, recognizing long-term sequelae, and directing patients to various medical and allied health care professionals to provide proper support and care post-breast cancer treatment.