Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Department

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Katherine Kim

Second Advisor

Louette Lutjens

Third Advisor

Gail Heathcote

Abstract

The purpose of this replication study was to examine how women with breast cancer reached their decision for surgical treatment (Ward, Heidrich and Wolberg 1989). Twenty-one women who met the surgical criteria, i.e. option for Breast Conserving surgery or Modified Radical Mastectomy, completed four surveys 1 to 7 days post operatively. The women were divided into two groups, 13 who had Breast Conserving surgery and 8 who had Modified Radical Mastectomy. The surveys assessed demographic characteristics of the groups, the level of knowledge regarding breast cancer, factors considered important in reaching the decision for surgery and the sources of information used during the decision-making process.; The results of this study were limited due to the small sample size, however several trends were identified. The Breast Conserving group chose that surgery because there was no difference between the two surgeries and felt that the inconvenience of daily radiation treatment was not an important factor in making their decision. The Modified Radical Mastectomy group considered daily radiation treatments to be very inconvenient and the fact that there was no difference between the surgeries to be unimportant. The test of knowledge revealed that both groups had inadequate knowledge and were not significantly different (t = 2.04, df = 8.26, p {dollar}>{dollar}.05). The subjects overwhelmingly listed the physician as the most important source of information they used to make their surgical treatment decisions. Further study of how women make their decision for surgical treatment of their early stage breast cancer is needed in order for nurses to apply appropriate interventions as they counsel such women.

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