Coping with radiation therapy: Effects of a nursing intervention on coping ability for women with breast cancer


Yvonne Wengström, Division of Nursing Research, Karolinska Hospital, Borgmästarvillan 1 tr, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden. Email:


A randomized study was carried out to investigate whether a nursing intervention, using Orem's self-care theory as a framework, would affect the coping ability of women with breast cancer during and following radiation therapy. The intervention consisted of promoting of behaviours to support the patient to restore, maintain or increase their abilities to interact with the situation and adapt to the demands of radiation treatment. The control and experimental groups both consisted of 67 patients. The Wheel Questionnaire was used to evaluate the effect of the intervention. Our results showed that the intervention provided patients older than 59 years the ability to cope with the treatment (df = 2, F = 3.463, P = > 0.05). The present study supports the idea that individual interventions aimed at improving well-being helps patients. It also highlights the fact that individual approaches to improving well-being are needed. Such interventions should be directed to patients at risk for poor adjustment, such as those older than 50 years of age.