Breast cancer: evaluation of the Common Journey Breast Cancer Support Group.

Document Type


Publication Date



MaineHealth, Medical Education

Journal Title

Journal of clinical nursing

MeSH Headings

Adaptation, Psychological, Adult, Aged, Attitude of Health Personnel, Attitude to Health, Breast Neoplasms, Female, Health Services Needs and Demand, Humans, Middle Aged, Models, Nursing, Models, Psychological, New England, Nursing Methodology Research, Nursing Staff, Patient Education as Topic, Program Evaluation, Qualitative Research, Self-Help Groups, Social Support, Surveys and Questionnaires, Women


BACKGROUND: Most studies of cancer support groups have focused on the effects of groups established for research purposes, from the exclusive perspective of the group participants.

AIM: This Roy Adaptation Model-based programme evaluation project focused on identifying the experiences of both participants in and facilitators of a community hospital-sponsored breast cancer support group.

DESIGN: Repeated measures survey methodology.

METHODS: Ten women with breast cancer and two Registered Nurse group facilitators participated in the programme evaluation project. Qualitative data were analysed using content analysis. Themes extracted from the data were categorized according to the Roy Adaptation Model modes of adaptation. The group participants completed Initial and End of Year Interview Guides and Group Voices Forms; the group facilitators completed the Facilitators' Voices Form. The Institutional Review Committee of a community hospital approved the programme evaluation project.

RESULTS: The Common Journey Breast Cancer Support Group is a community hospital-sponsored cancer support group established to meet the informational, emotional support, and social support needs of women with breast cancer who reside in a rural state in the New England region of the USA. Responses of participants and facilitators, which reflected all four of the Roy model modes of adaptation, indicated that the combination of information and emotional and social support was effective.

CONCLUSIONS: Nurses and other health professionals who establish community-based cancer support groups should consider formal evaluation of the outcomes, from the perspectives of both participants and facilitators, and should publish the results. The results of this programme evaluation project are limited to one breast cancer support group with a small number of female participants and two facilitators. Results cannot be generalized to support groups for other types of cancer or to cancer support groups for men.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Nurses and other health professionals should consider establishing and facilitating community hospital-sponsored support groups for women with breast cancer, which have the potential to meet the women's informational, emotional support, and social support needs.



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