Managing Anxiety While Undergoing Diagnostic Evaluation for Breast Cancer

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Managing Anxiety While Undergoing Diagnosic Evaluation for Breast Cancer

Literature Review

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. In 2008, more than one million women underwent a diagnostic evaluation for suspected breast cancer. Approximately 182,500 women of the more than one million that received an evaluation also received a positive diagnosis (Montgomery, 2010). Risk factors linked to Breast Cancer include: gender, age, family history, prior breast cancer, previous biopsy, race and ethnicity, breast density, and long menstrual history because of prolonged hormonal stimulation. Modifiable related risk factors also include hormone replacement therapy, alcohol, weight, and physical
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Assessment Distress and uncertainty of an impending diagnostic result begins at the point of discovery, and continues until diagnosis (Montomery, 2010). Healthcare providers can care for patients during this time with proper assessment which includes the use of anxiety measurement tools, as well as providing emotional support. Assessments should begin with a review of critical preexisting social support systems in a woman’s life. By reviewing her support system that includes diagnosis-specific others, family, and friends you can acquire necessary information and become connected with the patient. Social support has been reported as being a crucial positive coping resource effective in providing comfort and decreasing anxiety. In addition to support systems, an assessment of a woman’s inner strength related to well-being should be done. Assessing inner strength can be done by evaluating various personality traits that include, resiliency, optimism, a problem-solving attitude, humor, a spiritual dimension and an individual’s sense of purpose. Personality traits have been found to correlate with lower anxiety levels and a more positive expectation for the outcome. While no methods of measurement exist to specifically measure uncertainty, well-validated quantitative tools measuring emotional responses, depression, optimism,

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