Specialist breast care and research nurses' attitudes to adjuvant chemotherapy in older women with breast cancer

Ballinger, Rachel, Ford, Elizabeth, Pennery, Emma, Jenkins, Valerie, Ring, Alistair and Fallowfield, Lesley (2012) Specialist breast care and research nurses' attitudes to adjuvant chemotherapy in older women with breast cancer. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 16 (1). pp. 78-86. ISSN 1462-3889

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Abstract

Purpose Breast cancer largely affects older women (>=70 y) who have historically been excluded from clinical trials; consequently, treatment is often not evidence-based. Older women may not be offered adjuvant chemotherapy due to assumptions that they would not benefit, cannot tolerate it or do not wish to have it. Specialist breast care nurses (BCN) and research nurses (RN) play an important role influencing decisions. We report the roles, attitudes and involvement of such nurses regarding adjuvant chemotherapy in older women.Method A questionnaire examined 259 UK BCN and RN's views about efficacy and desirability of chemotherapy in older women, participation in decision-making in MDTs, and roles when chemotherapy was discussed with patients.Results 72% of BCN and 48% of RN agreed that age should not be a factor influencing who is offered chemotherapy. BCNs indicated involvement in decision-making with older breast cancer patients, discussing chemotherapy with patients at different points following diagnosis and during treatment, and proposing chemotherapy in MDT meetings. RNs were involved to a lesser extent. 69% of all nurses had not received specific training in the area and 70% thought training would be beneficial. Nurses disagreed that older patients would not tolerate or did not want chemotherapy but 1/3 agreed or were uncertain that burdens of chemotherapy outweighed benefits. A third felt that older women had less control over treatment decisions than younger women.Conclusions This study suggests a need to develop the role of specialist nurses to facilitate treatment decision-making relating to chemotherapy in older women.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Breast cancer, Elderly, Adjuvant, Chemotherapy, Nurse, Survey
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer (SHORE-C)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0001 Medicine and the state. Including medical statistics, medical economics, provisions for medical care, medical sociology > RA0418 Medicine and society. Social medicine. Medical sociology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0418 Medicine and society. Social medicine. Medical sociology

R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology Including cancer and carcinogens
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics > RG0491 Diseases of the breast
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Depositing User: Tracy Woodcock
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2011 13:15
Last Modified: 06 May 2016 12:09
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/7107
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