A Time to Question: A Study of the Information Needs of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Patients Regarding Endocrine Therapy
MetadataShow full item record
When women are faced with the diagnosis and treatment options for their care, they have high a need for information that persists throughout the course of their illness. When information needs are met, women are able to make informed decisions regarding their care, have increased quality of life, and cope better with their illness. The objective of this study was to identify the information needs of postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer making treatment decisions regarding endocrine therapy. An integrative review of research was conducted to collate and describe the information needs assessment methodologies used to identify information needs for women with breast cancer. Based on this review and our long-term goal of identifying a list of questions or information needs of women at this stage of their cancer treatment, we conducted a qualitative descriptive study to identify information needs and interviewed 17 post-menopausal women with early stage breast cancer and 4 healthcare providers. Women were asked to describe the questions they had or the information that they needed when endocrine therapy became part of their care. The healthcare providers described the information that they felt was important for women to know in regard to endocrine therapy. A list of 91 questions regarding endocrine therapy was identified; including information needs related to side effects, drug characteristics, financial cost, and survival/recurrence. Most women were not aware that they had a choice about the different types of endocrine treatment and often followed the physician’s recommendations. This study supports the assertion that postmenopausal women with breast cancer wish to be informed that they have a choice and desire information to make the best personal choice in collaboration with the physician. Healthcare professionals need to be aware of both the common and individual patients’ information needs and present options to assist women making the best decisions about their care.