Needs of women with breast cancer from the time they were given the diagnosis until treatment has received little attention by researchers. The purpose of this study was to identify the needs of women after they had been diagnosed with breast cancer and until treatment began. The theoretical framework underlying the study was based on Travelbee’s human to human relationship model. A retrospective univariate descriptive study was done. The Collier Needs Assessment Survey identified needs experienced by the participants related to disease, family, and emotional/psychosocial. Data were collected from 25 women in rural North Mississippi who had been diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 2 years. Perceived needs of women from the time of diagnosis until treatment were described. The variables of age, length of time between diagnosis and treatment, and the length of time since treatment were correlated with needs regarding disease, family and emotional/psychosocial. Findings demonstrated that during the stage between breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, one of the major needs of women was to have their lives continue as normally as possible. The importance of a health care provider who demonstrated concern and respected the ability of the patient to participate in the decision regarding treatment emerged as the most important need. These findings underscore the need for health care providers to be cognizant of the needs experienced by women during the time between diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. Also, findings from this study indicated that older women with breast cancer had different needs from younger women. Implications for nursing which emerged from this study include the need to be empathetic, concerned, and to allow the patient to participate in decision regarding treatment. Further research is recommended to determine if similar findings will occur with samples of younger women.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Second Advisor

Bonnie Lockard

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Sullivan

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons