This study assessed the informational needs of female breast cancer patients receiving radiation therapy after excisional biopsy and axillary node dissection. Two groups of subjects were interviewed: women in the first week of radiation therapy (T1) and women at their first clinic visit after the completion of radiation therapy (T2). A total of 40 women (20 in each group) completed the Informational Needs Questionnaire-Breast Cancer (INQ-BC) to assess their perceived informational need. The INQ-BC assessed the women's informational needs concerning diagnosis, investigative tests, treatment, physical and psychological functioning, family, and available financial resources. All subjects had informational needs on all seven subscales of the INQ-BC. The T1 group had significantly higher scores than did the T2 group. However, for both groups the highest scores were in the Treatment and Physical subscales, suggesting a similarity in the women's informational needs. The results suggest that during the illness experience women seek information about their cancer treatment and related physical care. The results also indicate the importance of assessing the breast cancer patients' perceived informational needs at various points in the treatment continuum.
Treatments in oncology