PURPOSE: Women with breast cancer often experience significant distress. Currently, there are no questionnaires aimed at identifying women's unique and possible changing indicators for distress in surgical continuity of care for breast cancer. We developed and tested three questionnaires specifically for this use.
METHODS AND SAMPLE: We first searched PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO to retrieve information on previously described indicators. Next, we conducted a focus group interview with 6 specialised nurses, who have extensive experience about consequences of breast cancer for women in surgical continuity of care. The questionnaire was tested on 18 women scheduled for breast cancer surgery. Subsequently, the women were debriefed to gain knowledge about comprehensibility, readability and relevance of items, and the time needed to complete the questionnaire. After adjustment, the questionnaires were field-tested concomitantly with a clinical study, which both consisted of a survey and an interview study.
KEY RESULTS: Three multi-item questionnaires were developed specific to different time points in surgical continuity of care. The questionnaires share a core of statements divided into seven sub-scales: emotional and physical situation, social condition, sexuality, body image, religion and organisational factors. Besides the core of statements, each questionnaire has different statements depending on the time point of surgical continuity of care when it was to be responded to.
CONCLUSION: The questionnaires contain comprehensive items that can identify indicators for distress in individual women taking part in surgical continuity of care. The items were understandable and the time used for filling in the questionnaires was reasonable.