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Purpose: This study investigated whether use of services of a breast care nurse (BCN) at any time during treatment for breast cancer led to reduced unmet needs and increased self-efficacy among women with breast cancer. A secondary aim was to analyse comparisons between urban and rural and remote dwellers. Method: Participants were Australian women who completed treatment for breast cancer at least 6 months before the survey date, recruited through two national databases of women diagnosed with breast cancer. The cross-sectional online survey consisted of two well validated measures, the SCNS-SF34 and the CASE-Cancer Scale. Statistical data were analysed using SPSS, with chi-square used to measure statistical significance. Results: A total of 902 participants responded to the survey. Unmet needs in the psychological domain were most prominent. Respondents who used the services of a BCN were significantly less likely to report unmet needs regarding tiredness, anxiety; future outlook; feelings about death and dying; patient care and support from medical staff; and provision of health systems and information. Scores of self-efficacy showed women using the services of a BCN had significantly higher self-efficacy when seeking and obtaining information (ρ ≤ 0.001) and understanding and participating in care (ρ = 0.032). Urban dwellers were more likely to have choice of health care service, but overall neither unmet needs nor perceived self-efficacy varied statistically significantly by remoteness. Conclusions: Women with breast cancer experience a range of unmet needs; however those using BCN services demonstrated positive outcomes in terms of decreased unmet needs and increased self-efficacy.

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Journal Article

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