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Effect of Implementing a Prechemotherapy Education Programme on Psychological Distress, Quality of Life, and Satisfaction of Egyptian Women Newly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Karima Elshamy

Background: Many patients diagnosed with breast cancer receive chemotherapy. The need for education is especially elevated among these patients and their families. Oncology nurses are responsible for educating patients prior to the chemotherapy experience. Sufficient and appropriate information to patients and their families constitute a part of comprehensive cancer care.

Aim of the study: the aim of this study was to assess the effect of implementing a prechemotherapy education programme on psychological distress, quality of life, and satisfaction of Egyptian newly diagnosed breast cancer women and their carers.

Material and Methods:

Research design: Quasi-experimental, prospective study was used. Research setting: This study was conducted at outpatient's chemotherapy clinic of the Oncology Center at Mansoura University Hospitals (OCMU), Egypt.

Subjects: A total of 63 eligible adult women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, with a confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer were approached to participate. Patients were randomized to the study group (n=32) and the control group (n=31).

Tools of the study: Three tools were used to collect data of the study: I: Psychological Distress Scale. II: European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 Questionnaire III: Patients' Satisfaction Questionnaire.

Results: There were no significant differences at baseline between groups for any of the demographic and clinical characteristics. There were not statistically significant difference between the intervention and control groups regarding the data on HADS-A and HADS-D. Quality of Life data between intervention and control groups were similar and balanced between the intervention and control groups before the intervention and there were no significant differences after the intervention. Our study revealed that there were statistically significant differences between groups post intervention on satisfaction. The intervention group patients were markedly more satisfied with the information received than patients in the control group and reported significantly more satisfied with overall care.

Limitations: This study was conducted on patients attended to Oncology Centre – Mansoura University, hence might not representing all Egyptian patients. This study was conducted on a small sample and results may not be generalizable, larger studies should be considered. A more comprehensive study might offer further insights.

Nursing implications: The educational programme described in this study can be adapted to meet the education needs of almost any newly diagnosed patient with cancer who is about to begin chemotherapy. The educational programme also may be a useful guide to new oncology nurses who are developing their patient education skills.

Conclusion: Providing education to patients before the start of therapy prepares them for treatment and, in the long term, may improve coping strategies when dealing with the illness. This approach may assist patients in avoiding unnecessary side effects and lead to improved patient outcomes.

Recommendations: More studies on large samples are needed to examine the need for and benefits of an educational intervention before the start of chemotherapy to help patients develop an understanding of their therapy.