Original Article

The Treatment Approach and Social Support Needs for Patients with Breast Cancer


  • Pınar Soylar
  • Metin F. Genç

Received Date: 11.11.2015 Accepted Date: 01.12.2015 Eur J Breast Health 2016;12(2):56-62


Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women both in developed and developing countries. It has a higher mortality rate in low and middle income countries due to the late-stage diagnosis. The principal aim of this study was to investigate what patients with breast cancer did before presenting to Turgut Özal Medical Center and its relationship with late stage diagnosis. The study also aimed to identify the level of patients’ perceived social support.

Materials and Methods:

The study included 200 patients with breast cancer who were treated at the chemotherapy unit during 2013 and 2014.


The mean age of the patients was 51.16±1.10 years and 60% of the women were graduates of elemantary school. The majority of patients (69.5%) noticed breast mass as the first symptom and 56.5% were diagnosed at later stages. Thirty-four percent of the patients delayed their visit to a health care centers after realizing the first symptom. No statistically significant relationship was determined between women’s education level, residential area, age, the first symptom noticed, stages of tumor, and patients and system-related delay (p>0.05). In terms of family history of breast cancer, there was a significant difference between patient-related and system-related delays (p<0.05). The family support score (24.8±4.6) was higher than those of friends and husbands (23.8±5.5, 21.3±6.4, respectively). The husband support score was statistically different in terms of intimacy between women and their husbands after disease (p<0.001).


It can be concluded that overcoming barriers related to patients and the system will lead to early-stage diagnosis, which in turn will result in higher survival rates of patients with breast cancer. As awareness and knowledge level of women about cancer increases, they will visit health care centers earlier where they can receive more comprehensive treatment.

Keywords: Breast cancer, treatment, early diagnosis of cancer, patient preference, social support