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J Am Med Womens Assoc. 1992 Sep-Oct;47(5):161-4.

Psychological impact of the diagnosis of breast cancer on the patient and her family.

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  • 1College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.


The diagnosis of breast cancer creates emotional distress for patients as well as family members. This article reviews studies on the psychological adjustment of women and their family members during the diagnosis, hospitalization, and early convalescence from breast surgery. Studies indicate that the diagnostic phase is an extremely stressful time for women, marked by high anxiety, uncertainty, and difficulty making decisions. The hospital phase is especially difficult for spouses, who must juggle work responsibilities with added home responsibilities and also spend time at the hospital supporting their wives. In the convalescent phase, patients and family members need to adjust to changes in family roles, cope with fears about recurrence, and learn to balance the needs of all family members. In order to provide high quality health care to breast cancer patients and their family members, physicians and nurses need to address the emotional as well as the physical aspects of recovery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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