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Giving Compass' Take:
• Tisha Felder reports that a study of African-American women who are breast cancer patients showed that they appreciate the support on both emotional and informational levels.
• How can individuals learn from this study on how to best support breast cancer patients/survivors? What are some critical skills that would be helpful to have?
According to the National Cancer Institute, about 3.4 million U.S. women were living with breast cancer in 2015.
Once diagnosed, women are faced with making decisions about different treatments. Do they need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation? And what about hormonal drug therapy, which sometimes must be taken as long as 10 years. Side effects from these treatments can range from hair loss, nerve damage and memory problems years after treatment. Given these challenges, supporting women during and after breast cancer treatment is vital.
But often, people do not know what to do help besides donning pink. We recently conducted a study to see what kind of support might best help women. We hope that results from our research may help give you some ideas.
In our study, we looked at how women experienced support during breast cancer treatment. We chose to focus on African-American women because they are more likely to die from breast cancer than all other women in the U.S.
Our results showed that women experienced support in three key ways. Sometimes the support women got met their needs, sometimes it was better than expected, and sometimes it wasn’t. Women shared how they expected cancer care providers to provide them with informational support.
Read the full article about support for breast cancer patients by Tisha Felder at The Conversation.