Information needs, uncertainty, and anxiety in women who had a breast biopsy with benign outcome

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Abstract

A retrospective, descriptive study to determine the information needs of women who underwent a breast biopsy with a benign outcome and to ascertain the levels of uncertainty and anxiety they experienced was conducted in two community health care sites in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A sample of 70 women completed a four-part survey after learning the benign breast biopsy diagnosis. The survey consisted of an Information Needs Questionnaire, Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale-Community Form, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and a Demographic Questionnaire.

Before the study, nine information needs were identified in a focus group composed of women (n = 9) who had a benign breast biopsy. The nine information needs were arranged in 36 pairs in the Information Needs Questionnaire. Profiles of information needs were developed through Statistical Analysis Systems analysis using Thurstone's Law of Comparative Judgement-Case V.

The most important information need of women who underwent a benign breast biopsy was knowing when they would learn the diagnosis. The next four information needs were categorized as information about the risks of developing breast cancer. Information about follow-up and diagnostic tests were less important than information about the threat of breast cancer. Women experienced heightened uncertainty and anxiety levels related to the benign breast biopsy experience. Profiles of information needs were developed for women experiencing various levels of uncertainty and anxiety, women of different age groups, and women who experienced with a loved one with breast cancer.

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