Social Needs Leaflet Assignment Sample

Understanding the social, emotional, and financial impacts of breast cancer on patients and families.

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Social Needs Leaflet Assignment

Social Needs

Social needs are the fundamental requirement of individuals for satisfying and healthy social interactions, relationships, as well as connections with others. These inherent needs are essential for overall well-being and quality of life. According to Maslow, social needs can vary from person to person but have a basic requirement for their social needs to be fulfilled, which includes needs for "belonging and acceptance", "emotional support", "intimacy and connection", "communication and interaction", "collaboration and reciprocity", "self-expression and sense of identity", and "respect and recognition" (Carlson et al., 2019). The 'Social Determinants of Health" suggests that there are certain systemic problems that have a profound impact on the health of individuals as well as the overall well-being of communities. These issues create inconsistency and conditions that give rise to social needs, ultimately influencing health outcomes.

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Changes in relationships and family

It has been found that a diagnosis of breast cancer often causes emotional distress for both the patient and their family. Anxiety, sadness and fear are common reactions, which can put a strain on the relationship. Further, members of the family often feel unsure or overwhelmed about how to provide the necessary support whereas the patient struggles with feelings of guilt or burdening their loved ones. It may cause changes in responsibilities and roles, as the treatment of breast cancer often involves chemotherapy, surgery, hormonal therapy, or radiation therapy, which can cause physical limitations and the patient might require assistance with daily activities, it further drastically shifts responsibilities within the family dynamic and it can be challenging for everyone involved (White-Means et al., 2020).

According to Lee et al., (2022), effective and open communication is crucial during a breast cancer journey, but it can be difficult to achieve. It has been found that both family members and the patient may find it hard to express their concerns, fears, or needs, which can lead to misunderstandings or increased tension, thus it is imperative for all parties to create open lines of communication as well as address any issues that arise.

Healthcare professionals play an important role in helping patients and their families manage the issues that arise due to breast cancer.

  • They can provide accurate and comprehensive information about breast cancer, potential side effects, treatment options, and available support services oke "Breast Cancer Care", "Macmillan Cancer Support" and "NHS Breast Cancer Services", and helps to educate the family members and patients, and this helps them make informed decisions as well as understand what to expect throughout the journey (Toledo et al., 2021).
  • They can provide emotional support to patients and their families by offering a listening ear, as well as empathy and reassurance, which helps individuals, cope with the emotional challenges associated with breast cancer (Y?ld?z and Hiçdurmaz, 2019). Further, referrals to counselling services and support groups may also be provided.
  • Healthcare professionals can act as mediators in facilitating communication between the patient and their family members and can help to address concerns while encouraging open dialogue and providing guidance on how to express emotions effectively, which can strengthen family relationships and promote understanding and support among all parties, involved (Den Ouden et al., 2019).

Changes in sexuality and intimacy

It has been found that breast cancer and its treatment can have physical effects on a woman's body, which include changes in body image, physical appearance, as well as sexual functioning. According to Maleki et al., (2021), breast surgery can alter the sensation and appearance of the breasts whereas radiation therapy may cause skin changes or scarring. Further, hormonal therapy can also result in menopausal symptoms, which can cause changes in sexual desire. The physical changes associated with breast cancer can have a significant impact on the emotion of the patient, as she may experience feelings of self-consciousness, a loss of femininity, or insecurity, which can affect her body image and self-esteem, further affecting her willingness and comfort in engaging in intimate activities. It has been found that engaging in discussions about sexuality with cancer patients is a crucial aspect of providing comprehensive care, although it is often ignored due to the perceived urgency or significance of other needs.

  • It has been found that honest and open communication between the patient and her partner is crucial in addressing the changes in intimacy as well as sexuality and it is important to create a safe space where both individuals can express their needs and feelings without judgment (Che Ya et al., 2021).
  • Healthcare professionals can provide guidance on managing physical changes while suggesting strategies for maintaining sexual intimacy for example "sensate focus exercises" and offering recommendations for appropriate resources or therapies. For instance, the patient may find it beneficial to seek the support of a therapist who specializes in working with individuals dealing with cancer and intimacy-related issues.
  • Further, joining support groups for individuals dealing with breast cancer can provide a valuable opportunity to connect with others who have similar experiences (Maleki et al., 2022).

Employment and Finance

It has been found that breast cancer can potentially impact a person's employment along with the financial situation in several ways. The medical expenses associated with breast cancer can place a financial burden on individuals, particularly if they do not have adequate coverage health insurance or they might face high out-of-pocket costs (Schmidt et al., 2019). Further, breast cancer often requires time off from work for medical procedures and recovery periods and these extended absences may lead to loss of income, reduced work hours, or even loss of employment. Moreover, breast cancer can have a significant emotional as well as psychological impact on individuals, which can affect a person's overall well-being and ability to focus on work tasks, further resulting in impaired job performance or reduced productivity. In addition, some individuals may face bias and discrimination in the workplace due to breast cancer, where they face stigmatization, unfair treatment and negative attitudes from colleagues or employers, which potentially leads to decreased job satisfaction and even termination (Ketterl et al., 2019).

  • Healthcare professionals can connect patients with support resources and services that can assist with financial issues by providing information on financial assistance programs, counselling services, as well as support groups that can help individuals navigate the financial implications of their condition (Greenup et al., 2019).
  • They can be advocates for their patients and help them communicate their needs to their employers or insurance providers.
  • For instance, "Macmillan Cancer Support" provides financial guidance to patients with breast cancer.


Carlson, L.E., Zelinski, E.L., Toivonen, K.I., Sundstrom, L., Jobin, C.T., Damaskos, P. and Zebrack, B., 2019. Prevalence of psychosocial distress in cancer patients across 55 North American cancer centers. Journal of psychosocial oncology, 37(1), pp.5-21.

Che Ya, S.N., Muhamad, R., Mohd Zain, N., Zakaria, R., Ishak, A., Hassan, I.I., Ab Hadi, I., Yahya, M.M., Low, W.Y. and Liamputtong, P., 2021. Coping strategies for sexual problems and sexual dysfunction amongst Malay women with breast cancer. A qualitative study. Sexual medicine, 9(3), pp.100336-100336.

Den Ouden, M.E., Pelgrum-Keurhorst, M.N., Uitdehaag, M.J. and De Vocht, H.M., 2019. Intimacy and sexuality in women with breast cancer: professional guidance needed. Breast Cancer, 26, pp.326-332.

Greenup, R.A., Rushing, C., Fish, L., Campbell, B.M., Tolnitch, L., Hyslop, T., Peppercorn, J., Wheeler, S.B., Zafar, S.Y., Myers, E.R. and Hwang, E.S., 2019. Financial costs and burden related to decisions for breast cancer surgery. Journal of oncology practice, 15(8), pp.e666-e676.

Ketterl, T.G., Syrjala, K.L., Casillas, J., Jacobs, L.A., Palmer, S.C., McCabe, M.S., Ganz, P.A., Overholser, L., Partridge, A., Rajotte, E.J. and Rosenberg, A.R., 2019. Lasting effects of cancer and its treatment on employment and finances in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. Cancer, 125(11), pp.1908-1917.

Lee, P.Y., Cheong, A.T., Ghazali, S.S., Rashid, A.A., Ong, S.C., Ong, S.Y., Alip, A., Sylvia, M., Chen, M.F., Taib, N.A. and Jaganathan, M., 2022. Barriers of and strategies for shared decision?making implementation in the care of metastatic breast cancer: A qualitative study among patients and healthcare professionals in an Asian country. Health Expectations, 25(6), pp.2837-2850.

Maleki, M., Mardani, A., Ghafourifard, M. and Vaismoradi, M., 2021. Qualitative exploration of sexual life among breast cancer survivors at reproductive age. BMC women's health, 21, pp.1-10.

Maleki, M., Mardani, A., Ghafourifard, M. and Vaismoradi, M., 2022. Changes and challenges in sexual life experienced by the husbands of women with breast cancer: a qualitative study. BMC Women's Health, 22(1), p.326.

Schmidt, M.E., Scherer, S., Wiskemann, J. and Steindorf, K., 2019. Return to work after breast cancer: The role of treatment?related side effects and potential impact on quality of life. European journal of cancer care, 28(4), p.e13051.

Toledo, G., Ochoa, C.Y. and Farias, A.J., 2021. Religion and spirituality: their role in the psychosocial adjustment to breast cancer and subsequent symptom management of adjuvant endocrine therapy. Supportive Care in Cancer, 29, pp.3017-3024.

White-Means, S., Dapremont, J., Davis, B.D. and Thompson, T., 2020. Who can help us on this journey? African American woman with breast cancer: Living in a city with extreme health disparities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(4), p.1126.

Y?ld?z, G. and Hiçdurmaz, D., 2019. An Overlooked Group in the Psychosocial Care in Breast Cancer: Spouses. Current Approaches in Psychiatry/Psikiyatride Guncel Yaklasimlar, 11(2).

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