Aim. This paper is a report of a study of the effect of supportive care on anxiety levels of women with suspected breast cancer during the diagnostic period. Background. Informational and psychosocial support has been shown to improve care outcomes for women with breast cancer. However, little is known about the effect of supportive care on women's psychological status during the breast cancer diagnostic period. Methods. For this longitudinal quasi-experimental study, 122 participants were recruited from a large teaching hospital in Taiwan. The experimental group (n = 62) received a supportive care programme that included health education pamphlets about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, three face-to-face sessions of informational and emotional support, and two follow-up telephone consultations. The control group (n = 60) received routine care. Data were collected from October 2006 to April 2007 using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory at baseline (notification of need for breast biopsy), before biopsy, and after receiving biopsy result (diagnosis). Findings. After adjusting for covariance of breast discomfort, regular breast self-examination, and biopsy result, the anxiety levels of women receiving supportive care were significantly lower before biopsy (P = 0·017) and after diagnosis (P = 0·001) than those of women receiving routine care. Conclusion. Supportive care that incorporates informational and emotional support and follow-up telephone consultations can decrease anxiety levels of women with suspected breast cancer. These findings can serve as a reference for clinical nursing staff to improve care quality during the breast cancer diagnostic period by providing women with individualized and culturally sensitive care.
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