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Patient Couns Health Educ. 1980 3d Quart;2(3):118-24.

Counselling needs of women with a maternal history of breast cancer.


Thirty-nine women with a maternal history of breast cancer were interviewed to determine their needs, concerns, and health practices pertaining to breast cancer. Each said they had been profoundly affected by their mother's illness. Many had feelings of guilt and anxiety, which had arisen after the diagnosis of their mother's breast cancer. Although most subjects (79%) practiced breast self-examination (BSE), both examiners and nonexaminers felt that their emotional reactions to breast cancer might keep them from performing an adequate examination. Subjects sought frequent breast examinations from a health professional--59% had two or more examinations a year--and found they helped to relieve anxiety. Most of the subjects (82%) though their risk of breast cancer was increased because of their maternal history of breast cancer. They were also concerned about the effects of birth control pills, radiation, and other factors on their breast cancer risk. Although subjects were concerned about risk, they had only vague, and sometimes incorrect, information about the magnitude of the risk. Based on these findings, we suggest that, beginning at the time of their mother's diagnosis, women whose mothers have breast cancer would benefit from ongoing counseling on emotional issues from a service that provides information and counselling about breast cancer risk, from receiving instruction in BSE and from having regularly scheduled examinations from a health care professional.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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