ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA—Women awaiting breast biopsy have high levels of anxi­ety and uncertainty. Although breast core-needle biopsy (CNB) is a less invasive pro­cedure than open biopsy, patients experience clinically marked levels of anxiety similarly. This study evaluates the effectiveness of aromatherapy as a complementary/alternative modality (CAM) for reducing anxiety in women undergoing CNB, and was presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 39th Annual Congress.

The study, presented by Alisa Domb, RN, from the John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona, was a randomized, con­trolled, prospective study, pretest/posttest design with a conve­nience sample of women undergoing CNB. Participants were randomized to receive aromatherapy via inhalation and topical application with either lavender essential oil or essence of jasmine.

Anxi­ety was measured using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI Form Y). State anxiety was measured at baseline (State-1), pri­or to CNB, and following CNB and clip placement mammogram (State-2). Trait anxiety was measured at baseline. Descriptive statis­tics were computed for all variables, student-t test was used to determine group differences, Chi square for categorical data, and multiple regressions were used to assess predictive variables for State-2 anxiety. The study included 135 participants; 66 received lavender and 69 received jasmine. Overall mean State-1 scores were 40.9 (± 11.1), which was significantly higher than STAI-Y mean normative values of female working adults.

State-1 score was 35.20 (±10.61) P <.000, while State-2 score was 33.0 (±11.2). There was no difference between the groups; both elicited a significant reduction in state anxiety levels (Lavender, –18.6%; jasmine, –19.6%). Mean Trait anxiety was 32.5 (±7.6) for both groups. The strongest correlations with State-1 were trait anxiety, marital status, and age. Multiple regression revealed that State-1, trait anxiety, radiologist performing biopsy, and result (r = 0.652, P < 0.000) as the strongest predictors of State-2 anxiety.

In a Chi square assessing post procedural anxiety, women with a diag­nosed malignancy responded statistically differently (P < .05) to 10 of 20 questions on the State portion of the STAI-Y, in par­ticular, those related to feeling tense, upset, worried, frightened, and nervous, all of which were increased in this group.

Domb and colleagues concluded that aromatherapy reduced anxi­ety in women undergoing breast CNB. Results were comparative to other studies evaluating CAM for anxiety reduction during breast biopsy procedures. Further research is recommended to examine how anxiety is influenced through communication.