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J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 1994;(16):183-90.

Breast cancer in younger women: effects on interpersonal and family relations.

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College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202.


Although breast cancer can have a stressful impact on women of all ages, young women may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of the disease. Based on a developmental perspective, this article reviews studies on the emotional impact of breast cancer on young women, their spouses, children, and the marital relationship. Studies indicate that younger women experience more emotional distress than older women, although the inverse relationship between age and emotional distress is not consistent across all studies. Although age does not appear to have a direct relationship to husbands' adjustments, younger husbands reported more problems carrying out domestic roles and a greater number of life stresses than older husbands. Studies on the impact of breast cancer on children are limited in number and scope but indicate that the effects of breast cancer vary according to the developmental level of the child. Directions for further research on young women and their families are suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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