Issues and concerns of young Australian women with breast cancer
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- Connell, S., Patterson, C. & Newman, B. Support Care Cancer (2006) 14: 419. doi:10.1007/s00520-005-0003-8
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Goals of work
Young women tend to experience many similar issues to that of their older counterparts, although more negatively and intensively. However, they also have specific concerns, which are not so apparent in studies that include a wide age range of participants. The aim of this study was to identify and explore the issues and concerns of Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 41 years.
Participants and methods
We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a self-selected, convenience sample of 35 Australian women with breast cancer, diagnosed at 40 years of age or younger and no more than 4 years previously. Themes found within the literature about ‘younger’ women up to 50 years of age provided guidance to the interviews. The audiotaped interviews were transcribed verbatim. The data were analysed using the basic analytical principles of data reduction, data display and drawing conclusions. The data were initially subdivided according to the literature-derived themes. Content analysis was performed on the categories developed, revealing the most pressing concerns of participants.
Second to fear of recurrence and future uncertainty, children and family were the most commonly reported major personal concern. Consumer-related issues and concerns for children and family were equally reported as the greatest general concern of young women with breast cancer. The greatest unmet need of participants was support.
Age-appropriate information and support for this group of young women with breast cancer remains a challenge. This paper suggests ways young Australian women with breast cancer can access additional support with the use of technology.