Comparing issues faced by younger and older women with breast cancer

Sheila Cameron, M. Elizabeth Horsburgh


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore issues identified by women with breast cancer to determine if the experiences of women over 60 years of age differed from younger women. Twenty women were interviewed and asked about their experiences with diagnosis and treatment; issues and concerns which presented special challenges for them; whether they were experiencing other health problems in addition to their cancer, as well as who, and what, they found most helpful to them during the experience. Some of the issues specific to older women included: greater hesitation in seeking initial treatment; their strong desires to maintain their independence; and a greater number of health problems being experienced. Findings are relevant to nurses working with seniors diagnosed with breast cancer.

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