Identifying changes in one's breast, or being recalled for further investigation following routine screening or surveillance, can cause fear and anxiety.18 At this time, the SCN has an important role in providing information to allay anxiety, and conveying support through active listening, asking open ended questions, and use of supportive non-verbal communication.23
A guide is available to assist General Practitioners in investigating symptoms that could be breast cancer – The investigation of a new breast symptom: a guide for General Practitioners(PDF, 884KB).24 The guide emphasises the role of the 'triple test', as well as the importance of understanding an individual woman's risk to determine the appropriate action.
The triple test refers to three diagnostic components:24
- medical history and clinical breast examination
- imaging – mammography and/or ultrasound
- non-excision biopsy – fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology and/or core biopsy.
Access The investigation of a new breast symptom: a guide for General Practitioners(PDF, 884KB).24 Outline the advice you would give to a 40 year old woman about what is involved in the 'triple test' investigation she is likely to have for new breast lump:
- Compare this advice with the advice you might provide a women who was 55 years old
- Discuss specific communication strategies you would use to convey support to a woman at this time.
Libby's story 2: new symptoms
Explain how you would assess Libby's main concerns at this time.
Describe how Libby's previous experience with breast cancer may influence her responses to a new breast symptom.
Discuss the investigations that Libby is likely to undergo and the rationale for these investigations.
Formulate a nursing care plan to provide information, education and support to Libby at this time.