Date of Award

Winter 12-14-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Kymberle Sterling, DrPH

Second Advisor

Frances McCarthy, Ph.D.


Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data estimates that 207,090 women will be diagnosed with and 39,840 women will die of cancer of the breast in 2011. Cancer can be a very intimidating illness and cause a great deal of anxiety. This anxiety can sometimes progress into a very serious medical problem. Interpersonal relationships, such as that between a patient and provider can influence health behavior. Communication functions of patient-provider communication such as, information exchange, uncertainty management, can improve health outcomes both directly and indirectly. For example, cancer education can help ease anxiety by familiarizing the patient with their particular condition. Additionally, cancer education classes facilitate support networks for both the diagnosed and those close to them. Increasing the patient’s knowledge and showing them they are not alone are both examples of proximal outcomes that lead to immediate outcomes to improve patient satisfaction. The breast health education class at Winship Cancer Institute came about in an effort to coordinate breast cancer care for all patients. The class prides itself on not telling patients ‘what’ to do but rather providing them with the basic facts regarding breast cancer care so that they can be more educated on their treatment options. The goal and/or overall mission of The Breast Cancer Education (BCE) Class for the Diagnosed Patient and her Significant Others is to reduce anxiety by providing breast cancer education and promoting advocacy for breast cancer patients, while providing a network of support and increasing enrollment in clinical trials. The purpose of this capstone project is to provide the tools to perform an impact evaluation on the breast cancer education class and its effectiveness in improving breast cancer patient health outcomes while examining the benefits of patient-provider communication in cancer education.

Included in

Public Health Commons