Many parents and young girls may be reluctant to discuss the topic of breast cancer risk, or be resistant to receiving guidance and advice about how to avoid known and suspected risks that heighten breast cancer risk.
In these cases, communication techniques such as motivational interviewing may serve as useful tools to explore and resolve ambivalent feelings in order to facilitate change. In motivational interviewing, the health provider first explains what is known about the risk, and then poses questions about the risks to lead the parent or caregiver to their own understanding of how that risk might affect them, or their daughter. That way, the parent or caregiver comes to the conclusion, rather than being asked to unquestionably accept the advice of the health provider.
By using these techniques, sensitive topics like risk factors for breast cancer, such as obesity or eating habits, can be broached and explored even if a parent or caregiver does not initially believe their daughter is at risk or that the risks will occur when they are older.
For more information:
- Clear Communication – National Institutes of Health
- Fact Sheet for Health Professionals: Motivating Change in Patients and Parents/Caregivers (color) – PDF
- Motivational Interviewing – American Academy of Pediatrics
- Motivational Interviewing Techniques – National College Transition Network
- Sample Scripts for Stages of Change – UCLA Center for Human Nutrition
- Think Cultural Health – U.S. Department of Health & Human Services