The information needs and source preferences of women with breast cancer and their family members: a review of the literature published between 1988 and 1998

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Abstract

The information needs and source preferences of women with breast cancer and their family members: a review of the literature published between 1988 and 1998

A comprehensive and critical literature review was conducted to examine the information needs and source preferences of women with breast cancer and their family members. Relevant papers published between 1988 and 1998 were reviewed and despite their having several methodological weaknesses, a number of conclusions can still be drawn. First, women with breast cancer have distinct needs for information throughout their breast cancer journeys, indicating that information needs change with time since diagnosis and with treatment-related events. Second, family members of women with breast cancer also have substantial needs for information. Third, women with breast cancer and their family members often prefer verbal forms of information from health care professionals (HCPs), particularly around the time of diagnosis. Women with breast cancer, however, are often dissatisfied with the information they receive from HCPs. Further, the family members of women with breast cancer often perceive their information needs to be ignored by HCPs. Finally, few studies have focused specifically on the information needs and source preferences of family members of women with breast cancer. These findings have a number of implications for nursing, both for clinical practice and nursing research, and these are discussed in the review.

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