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Mentor

Dr. Victoria Loerzel

Abstract

This study describes the experience of being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer for women age 65 and older. This qualitative study used content analysis to analyze twenty interviews of older women with early stage breast cancer. A variety of positive and negative factors influence the experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer. These factors include: their initial reactions, interactions with their respective medical teams, family support, religion, education, and misinformation. Nurses can use the information from this study to help make diagnosis more positive by educating older women about breast cancer and treatment, encouraging them to develop an optimistic attitude, practicing open communication, and suggesting the older woman use religious practices that she finds comforting.

About the Author

Molly Wilhelm graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor of science degree in nursing with honors. Under the mentorship of Dr. Victoria Loerzel, Molly completed and presented her research at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence in 2011. Her research was funded by the Student-Mentor Academic Research Teams (SMART) grant. She is currently working as a registered nurse on a medicine unit and is a student at the University of Central Florida pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice.

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