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Early-stage breast cancer patients lack knowledge; may not receive treatment they prefer
Date:1/10/2012

CHICAGO (January 10, 2012) According to the results of a new study published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, many early-stage breast cancer survivors lacked knowledge about their disease and were not meaningfully involved in treatment discussions or asked their preferences regarding the approach to treatment. As a result, the study's investigators determined that there is a need for improvements in the quality of the surgical decision-making process for these patients.

The retrospective study sought to evaluate the quality of the decision-making process regarding the options for surgical treatment. The "quality" for early-stage breast cancer patients in this study was defined as the degree to which a decision was informed and consistent with patient preferences. Although several other studies have found knowledge gaps and identified specific patient concerns that affect decisions about breast cancer surgery,i ii iii this is the first study that attempted to examine how often treatments actually reflect patient preferences.

Surveys were mailed to adult women with a history of early-stage invasive breast cancer (stages I and II) treated at one of four academic medical centers: The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; University of California, San Francisco; and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Patients answered about half of the questions right (average knowledge score was 52.7 percent), indicating some large gaps in knowledge for information that providers identified as critical. Less than half (48.6 percent) of study participants reported that their surgeon asked them about their preference regarding surgical treatment.

The data was collected an average of two-and-a-half years following the surgical procedure and recognized the fact that patients are likely to forget some information over time. However, the knowledge gaps concern
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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