Publication Date

5-28-1999

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Joan Edelstein

Second Advisor

Gigi Jordan

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine current practice behaviors of adult nurse practitioners when assessing and screening asymptomatic women over age 50 for breast cancer. Rosenstock's Health Model and Bandura's social learning theory guided this research. One hundred-fifty nurse practitioners were surveyed by questionnaire. Seventy-six surveys were completed and returned. Survey results revealed that those practitioners who had experienced breast cancer themselves were more aggressive in their screening and follow-up practices than those who had never had breast cancer. It was also noted that the nurse practitioners surveyed were performing initial breast cancer screening but not having patients return each year for on-going assessment. Stressing the need for yearly breast care is essential in detecting changes early enough to improve the chance of survival should problems be identified. Women over age 50 are at greater risk for breast cancer. Mortality rates are greatly affected by what stage the cancer is in when it is detected. Therefore, aggressive teaching and on-going screening are essential in contributing to the survival rate and breast health of women over 50. The knowledge gained from this research may increase nurse practitioners' awareness of the importance of consistent yearly screening after an initial evaluation.

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