UNDERSTANDING THE PRIMARY HEALTH CARE NEEDS AND CURRENT CARE GUIDELINES FOR WOMEN FOLLOWING BREAST CANCER TREATMENT: A SCOPING REVIEW AND VALIDATION STUDY
Young, Tessa Kimberly
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Purpose: The purpose of this thesis was to perform a scoping review of the current literature and available clinical practice guidelines to generate an understanding of the primary health care needs of women following treatment for breast cancer. Methods: Based on an extensive scoping review of the literature, research findings regarding the complications of breast cancer treatments and corresponding primary care interventions were synthesized. Additionally, validation of the findings of the scoping review was performed through semi-structured interviews with two primary care physicians and three post-treatment breast cancer patients. Results: Eleven broad categories related to the primary health care needs of women after undergoing treatments for breast cancer were identified. These included concerns related to: surgical complications, lymphedema, gynecologic and menopausal symptoms, psychosocial issues, additional primary cancers, cardiovascular implications, osteoporosis, lifestyle changes, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and pregnancy. Additionally, it was determined that the majority of existing clinical practice guidelines for breast cancer were outdated, and related to cancer detection and treatment as opposed to survivorship care. Summary: Findings from the scoping review and interviews demonstrate the vast range of primary care needs of women after undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Additionally, these results highlight the critical need for the development of a comprehensive set of current clinical practice guidelines which target primary care physicians and are specifically focused on the survivorship needs of women following breast cancer treatment.