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Table 7 Summary of the gap analysis for the psychosocial aspects of breast cancer

From: Evaluation of the current knowledge limitations in breast cancer research: a gap analysis

What do we know? There are psychosocial effects of genetic testing, prophylactic mastectomy and breast screening.
  Descriptive studies of the experiences of breast cancer patients using quantitative and qualitative methods show women still experience psychosocial distress despite improvements in treatment and prognosis.
  Psychosocial interventions have been shown to benefit women, including those identified as experiencing high levels of distress.
What are the gaps? Evaluation of decision aids for risk management and the choice of preventative surgery amongst high-risk women.
  Ways of effectively communicating information and aiding patient treatment decision-making.
  Defining patient experiences in early, chronic and end stage breast cancer.
  Limited research into co-morbidities amongst breast cancer patients.
  Experiences of ethnic minority populations and older women.
  The need to develop and evaluate appropriate psychosocial interventions for high-risk women and those diagnosed as having breast cancer.
  Use of psychological theories in behaviour change that could enhance compliance to lifestyle and chemoprevention trials.
Problems The need for the long-term follow-up in psychosocial research.
  Barriers to the uptake of research findings.
Translational implications Direct improvement in the experience of patients, their families and those at increased risk.
Recommendations Develop and rigorously evaluate appropriate psychosocial interventions.
  Encourage cross-speciality collaboration to incorporate psychosocial issues and psychological theory (for example, psychological theories in relation to behaviour change are relevant to those researching prevention with diet and exercise or chemoprevention).
  Ensure research gives greater attention to all stages of breast cancer and that the needs of older women and those from a range of ethnic groups are included.