Breast cancer patients' expressed information needs: results of a literature review




Holmes, Donna

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This literature review was conducted to explore the relevant research regarding the expressed information needs of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. A literature review was chosen to support the learning needs of the author as a novice researcher and to ensure future practice guidelines are evidence based. A number of the authors work in this review utilized Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) theoretical framework of coping, illness behaviour, and outcomes which guided the work for their research. Women experienced heightened anxiety and stress when faced with a life threatening illness. The Information Needs Questionnaire (Degner et al., 1998) and the Toronto Information Needs Questionnaire Breast Cancer (Galloway et al., 1997) were used to assess the information needs of women. All women articulated high information needs irrespective of the treatment they received. The most important needs of women with a new diagnosis of breast cancer are: disease stage, treatment, and investigational tests. The difference among the women was in relation to the priority order they wanted their information needs met. This review contributes to a better understanding of information needs of women as they journey through their cancer treatment. Women with breast cancer tell us they require information to help them manage their illness. Oncology Nurses can play a significant role in understanding a women’s individual need for information when they are faced with a new diagnosis of breast cancer. The ability to understand the patients’ perspective is the key issue for nurses when probing information needs.



breast cancer, literature review, breast cancer patient, new diagnose, information needs