Informational Needs of Women with Breast Cancer Treated with Chemotherapy


Internal Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon


Background: Research in the field of informational needs of breast cancer patients is scarce. In the few published articles, these needs were usually not satisfied. The main objective of this study was to evaluate satisfaction regarding informational needs in women with breast cancer. The long-term goal was to guide physician-patient communication to meet these needs. Materials and Methods: A survey with 21 questions was completed by 84 female patients receiving chemotherapy in a one-day hospital in Beirut, Lebanon. All patients were aware of their disease and agreed to participate in the survey. Results: The doctor was the major source of information for patients followed by media (radio and television). The level of knowledge of patients concerning their disease was proportional to the number of information sources. Women aged younger than 45 years, diagnosed during the last three months before the survey and certified from high school were less satisfied with information given by the oncologist. The missing information was in relation with the steps of the treatment after the chemotherapy regimen, the risk of a family member (sisters and daughters) of developing the disease and management of lymphedema. Conclusions: This study generated a scale for the degree of satisfaction of information received by women with breast cancer from their oncologist. The physician can use this scale to improve his or her skills of communication to patients and diminish their level of fear and anxiety.