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Understanding Older Women's Experience
of Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

By: Molly Wilhelm | Mentor: Dr. Victoria Loerzel

Abstract

This study describes the experience of being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer for women age 65 and older. This qualitative study used content analysis to analyze twenty interviews of older women with early stage breast cancer. A variety of positive and negative factors influence the experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer. These factors include: their initial reactions, interactions with their respective medical teams, family support, religion, education, and misinformation. Nurses can use the information from this study to help make diagnosis more positive by educating older women about breast cancer and treatment, encouraging them to develop an optimistic attitude, practicing open communication, and suggesting the older woman use religious practices that she finds comforting.

KEYWORDS: nursing, breast cancer, older women, diagnosis, care

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