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Breast Cancer Survivors in Vermont: A Qualitative Study of Their Perspective of Post Treatment Primary Care Services

Grant #: Research Grant
PI Name: Geller B, Canales M, O'Brien P
Title: Breast Cancer Survivors in Vermont: A Qualitative Study of Their Perspective of Post Treatment Primary Care Services
Institute: Fletcher Allen Health Care and University of Vermont


Objectives: 1) to describe the post treatment health care needs of Vermont women that arise from surviving breast cancer; 2) to identify the resources women have utilized, in addition to health care, to improve their chances of survival and their quality of life after treatment for breast cancer (coping strategies, life style changes, alternative therapies, spiritual pursuits, social support) and; 3) to learn how primary care providers can address identified needs, and facilitate supportive services. The qualitative information gained from this study will be used to develop an experimental study to test an intervention to improve primary care services for breast cancer survivors. The investigators will moderate 12 focus groups through Vermont, each group will have slightly different criteria for inviting women into the study.

Study population: Fifteen women, aged 30 - 85, will be recruited into each focus group, with an expectation that 12 women will participate, for a total of 144 women. These women will have had a mammogram in 1999 in the VMR database and a self-reported history of breast cancer, age at diagnosis and educational status. In 1999, 30%, 37% and 57% of the women in each age group (30-49, 50-64, 65-85), respectively, had a high school education or less. Because women of lower educational attainment have different access to care issues than higher educated women (20), and because experience has shown that women with low educational attainment are often intimidated by well-educated women and tend to not speak up in mixed groups, the groups will be segregated by educational attainment.