Purpose of the research
The aim of the study was to explore women’s Help Seeking Behaviour (HSB) for a self discovered breast symptom, in order to gain understanding of women’s experience of finding a breast symptom and how this influenced their HSB. In addition, the study sought to confirm the appropriateness of the “Help Seeking Behaviour & Influencing Factors” framework, for use in phase two of the study.
Methods and sample
A qualitative descriptive method was used involving semi-structured interviews with ten women, ranging in age from 25 to 55 years, who had discovered a breast symptom.
Women’s HSB ranged from up to one month (n = 6), one to three months (n = 2) and over three months (n = 2), following symptom discovery. The key variables linked to delayed help seeking were denial, fear, social factors and knowledge and beliefs. The study verified that the variables within the “Help Seeking Behaviour and Influencing Factors” framework act as both facilitators and barriers to women’s HSB. Thus, confirming the appropriateness of this framework for a larger quantitative study of women’s help seeking behaviour.
The study highlights that despite continued emphasis on early help seeking for breast cancer symptoms, delay is still prevalent amongst women. This reiterates the need for continued emphasis on the message of early detection for breast cancer symptoms. To this end, nurses have a significant role to play in educating women in both clinical and community settings, about breast cancer and early detection practices.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to European Journal of Oncology Nursing
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- Patient delay and stage of diagnosis among breast cancer patients in Germany: a population based study.British Journal of Cancer. 2002; 86: 1034-1040
- Understanding why women delay in seeking help for breast cancer symptoms.Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2005; 8: 321-326
- Who and what influences delayed presentation in breast cancer?.British Journal of Cancer. 1998; 77: 1343-1348
- A qualitative study of delay among women reporting symptoms of breast cancer.British Journal of General Practice. 2001; 51: 967-971
- Promoting early presentation of breast cancer: development of a psycho-educational intervention.Chronic Illness. 2008; 4: 13-27
- A method of analysing interview transcripts in qualitative research.Nurse Education Today. 1991; 11: 461-466
- A qualitative study on detecting cancer symptoms and seeking medical help; an application of Andersen’s model of total patient delay.Patient Education & Counselling. 2002; 42: 145-157
- Help-seeking behaviour for cancer symptoms: perceptions of patients and general practitioners.Psycho-Oncology. 2002; 10: 469-478
- Early detection of cancer: knowledge and behavior among Dutch adults.Cancer Detection and Prevention. 2002; 26: 362-369
- Cancer in Ireland 1994–2004: a Comprehensive Report.National Cancer Registry, Ireland2009
- Delay versus help seeking for breast cancer symptoms: a critical review of the literature on patient and provider delay.Social Science & Medicine. 1993; 36: 1521-1534
- Women’s narratives for helpseeking for breast cancer.Cancer Practice. 1995; 3: 219-225
- Helpseeking for self- discovered breast symptoms. Implications for early detection.Cancer Practice. 1997; 5: 220-227
- Narratives of breast symptom discovery and cancer diagnosis: psychologic risk for advanced cancer at diagnosis.Cancer Nursing. 1998; 21: 430-440
- Perceived risk and help-seeking behaviour for breast cancer. A Chinese–American perspective.Cancer Nursing. 2000; 23: 258-267
- The self-reported likelihood of patient delay in breast cancer: new thoughts for early detection.Preventive Medicine. 2002; 34: 397-407
- Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness.Nurse Education Today. 2004; 24: 105-112
- Perceptions of breast cancer across the lifespan.Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2003; 54: 141-146
- Competing paradigms in qualitative research.in: Denzin N.K. Lincoln Y.S. Handbook of Qualitative Research. Sage, London1994: 105-117
- Religiosity, spirituality, and cancer fatalism beliefs on delay in breast cancer diagnosis in African American women.Journal of Religious Health. 2010; 49: 62-72
- The relationships among clinician delay of diagnosis of breast cancer and tumor size, nodal status, and stage.American Journal of Surgery. 2006; 192: 506-508
- National Breast Cancer GP Referral Guidelines.HSE, Dublin2009
- Help-seeking intentions for breast-cancer symptoms: a comparison of the self-regulation model and the theory of planned behaviour.British Journal of Health Psycholology. 2003; 8: 319-333
- Survey of Views and Perceptions of Women Who Attended Symptomatic Breast Clinics.The Women’s Health Council, Ireland2000
- Women's reasons for and barriers to seeking care for breast cancer symptoms.Womens Health Issues. 1995; 5: 27-35
- The common-sense model of self-regulation of health and illness (Ch 3).in: Cameron L.D. Leventhal H. The Self-Regulation of Health and Illness Behaviour. Routledge, London2003: 42-65
- Breast cancer awareness among older women.British Journal of Cancer. 2008; 99: 1221-1225
- Risk factors for delayed presentation and referral of symptomatic cancer: evidence for common cancers.British Journal of Cancer. 2009; 101: S92-S101
- Delay in seeking medical care for self-detected breast symptoms in New Zealand women.New Zealand Medical Journal. 2002; 115: U257
- The relationship of symptoms and psychological factors to delay in seeking medical care for breast symptoms.Preventive Medicine. 2003; 3: 374-378
- Guidance on Cancer Services: Improving Outcomes in Breast Cancer Manual Update.NICE, London2002
- Delay in presentation of symptomatic referrals to a breast clinic: patient and system factors.British Journal of Cancer. 2000; 82: 742-748
- Factors influencing women in seeking help from a health care professional on self discovery of a breast symptom, in an Irish context.Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2009; 18: 2020-2029
- Help seeking for cancer symptoms: a review of the literature.Oncology Nursing Forum. 2009; 36: E178-E184
- Women’s lived experience of breast biopsy: a phenomenological study.Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2001; 10: 512-520
- Nursing Research Generating and Assessing Evidence or Nursing Practice.eighth ed. Lipincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia2008
- The influence on survival of delay in the presentation and treatment of symptomatic breast cancer.British Journal of Cancer. 1999; 79: 858-864
- Influence of delay on survival in patients with breast cancer: a systematic review.Lancet. 1999; 353: 1119-1126
- Whatever happened to qualitative description?.Research in Nursing and Health. 2000; 23: 334-340
- Qualitative Research in Nursing Advancing the Humanist Imperative.fourth ed.. Lipincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia2007
Published online: November 22, 2010
© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.