Does Basic Information Concerning Nutrition Improve the Information Needs of Breast Cancer Patients? An Evaluation

PURPOSE:

International and national studies have shown unmet information needs regarding nutrition in breast cancer patients. An intervention study has examined the question of the extent to which a fact sheet on the topic of nutrition is suitable to cover the need for information of breast cancer patients.

METHOD:

The fact sheet with basic information on nutrition was distributed in 21 intervention breast care centres in 2017. The use of the fact sheets was evaluated in a quasi-experimental design as part of the annual breast cancer patients’ survey of the University of Cologne. The breast cancer patients considered were being treated with primary breast carcinoma in a hospital in North Rhine-Westphalia. A multilevel analysis was carried out in order to quantify the effect of the intervention.

RESULTS:

Unmet information needs are experienced more by younger and non-native German-speaking patients. With regard to education, patients without a graduation and a high grade of education express more unmet information needs. The multilevel analysis showed that patients who were treated at an intervention site and therefore possibly received the fact sheet have a significantly higher chance of their information needs being met (OR = 1.45; p ≤ 0.05).

CONCLUSION:

The intervention study showed that a fact sheet with basic information on nutrition is a possible instrument to satisfy the information needs of breast cancer patients and therefore reduce unmet information needs regarding nutrition. This intervention study is a pragmatic example on how to reduce unmet information needs among breast cancer patients in Germany.