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UICC World Cancer Congress 2006
Bridging the Gap: Transforming Knowledge into Action
July 8-12, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Methods: To ascertain women's own personal and subjective experiences, the first stage of the research involved conducting five focus groups with 47 women recruited through three national voluntary cancer-support organisations and four Follow-up Breast Clinics throughout Ireland. These data facilitated the development of a comprehensive survey that was subsequently sent to 1240 women with a breast prosthesis.
Results: The focus group findings pinpointed the importance of the physical characteristics of the prosthesis; cost, affordability and entitlements; a lack of and perceived difficulty in getting information; the impact of the fitting experience, fitting environment and the qualities of a prosthesis fitter on a woman's experience in obtaining a first or replacement breast prosthesis; and the myriad of personal and social impacts of a breast prosthesis for the woman. The survey findings identify the factors that promote quality in the supply, fitting and aftercare of breast prostheses. They also highlight the factors that influence women's physical and psychosocial experience in obtaining and using a breast prosthesis. Overall, the paper will make recommendations for policy and practice in the fitting of breast prostheses, which will ultimately benefit the women availing of these services.