On Breast Cancer Detection, Directors of Nursing and Female Residents: A Study in Rural Long-Term Care


Breast cancer is a leading cause of mortality in women throughout the world. Rural women have a higher risk of dying from breast cancer than do their urban counterparts. Breast cancer incidence rises sharply with age, and research on breast cancer screening for the old-old women in long-term care facilities is scarce. The purpose of this study was to investigate the screening services available for breast cancer detection for the elderly women in rural, skilled long-term care facilities in a Midwestern state.
Participants in the study were Directors of Nursing for rural long-term care facilities, of which the response rate was 68.4%. Results revealed that elderly women in the rural long-term care facilities do not receive breast cancer screening services within the guidelines of the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. Also, the self-reports by female Directors of Nursing indicate that even these professionals do not practice or utilize breast cancer screening services within consensus guidelines. Data support the need for a continued focus on breast health programs for rural elderly women in long-term care, and for health-seeking behaviors of nursing professionals.

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