Evaluating the Effect of Health Education Intervention on the Health Beliefs and Behaviors of First-Degree Female Relatives of Breast Cancer Patients
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Background Breast cancer risk increases by 80% in the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations in the same family. In particular, a woman whose sister or mother has breast cancer has a 2- to 5-fold higher risk of developing breast cancer compared with other women. For this reason, recommendations should have been made regarding breast cancer prevention and/or early detection for women with first-degree family history of breast cancer. Aim The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of health education, which was provided to first-degree female relatives of breast cancer patients, on their health beliefs and behaviors. Study Design and Methods The study sample included 50 women with a first-degree relative being treated for breast cancer in the chemotherapy and radiotherapy unit of a university hospital. A one-group pretest-posttest design was used. The pretest consisted of the health belief model scale and a questionnaire regarding the women's sociodemographic information and breast cancer screening behaviors. After the pretest, the patients received health education regarding breast cancer risk factors and screening methods. The posttest was conducted 3 weeks after the education using the same assessment tools. Results After education, there were statistically significant increases in rates of practicing breast self-examination, having clinical breast examinations, and undergoing breast ultrasound/mammography compared with pretest results. Conclusions Health workers should possess knowledge and experience about breast cancer which will enable them to effectively undertake an educational role, especially for high-risk groups such as women with first-degree family history of breast cancer.