The principal aims of the present study were to elucidate differences by life stage and comparatively examine the utility of the model by Holland et al. used for analysis of the psychological progress in patients with breast cancer during the fight against the disease following the notification of cancer. We comparatively examined the behavior of patients with breast cancer using phases 1–3 of the model by Holland et al. to classify and categorize each psychological state. The results revealed the following points:
1) with regard to the psychological process following notification of breast cancer, there were cases in which the patients passed from phases 1 and 2 to reach the phase 3 of "adaption" and cases in which the patients shifted to phase 3 without going through phases 1 and 2. In addition, individual differences were remarkable during the periods of each phase. The model of Holland et al. is useful as a reference in understanding the psychological process of breast cancer patients following notification of cancer, thereby making it possible to elucidate the characteristics of the individual psychological processes of patients with breast cancer. 2) In the case of young women, especially single women with no spouse, the psychological impact of "anxiety" "shock," "fear concerning the future," etc. was great. In particular, patients specifically manifested complex psychological anxiety and fear concerning damage to femininity and motherliness.
That is, the psychological process following notification had a significant effect on life stages. 3) The results show that support by nearby family members, health care practitioners, and other persons who have experienced breast cancer contributes to the amelioration of the various anxieties and fears that breast cancer patients feel after notification and promotes adaptation.