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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2010 Jul;14(3):183-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2009.12.006. Epub 2010 Jan 18.

The late effects of mantle field radiotherapy: the information and support needs of women survivors of Hodgkin's disease.

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Division of Health Research, School of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YT, United Kingdom. <>



To improve understanding of the information and support needs of women at risk from breast cancer after earlier treatment with mantle field radio therapy for Hodgkin's disease.


A multiple case study approach presenting the detailed accounts of three participants has been used to represent the issues raised by a wider sub-set of 15 Hodgkin's disease survivors. These women were participants in a larger qualitative study of 50 long term survivors of adolescent cancer. They were interviewed in depth either face to face or via the telephone. Data were analysed using methods of data reduction, display and conclusion drawing, three case studies were then purposively selected to illustrate key themes in the wider data set.


Discovering the risk of late effect breast cancer, particularly via the media, caused shock. Reliable information was difficult to locate and the support needs of the women were not met by medical services. The impact of the new risk was exacerbated by the earlier cancer experience.


Information on the risk of late effects to cancer survivors regarded as trustworthy is not easy to access. When the risk of a treatment related malignancy is identified there must be a reliable way of informing both those at risk and primary health care physicians who then need to take into account the cancer history of the patient and its ongoing effect on their emotional vulnerability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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