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

ed not just detailed information but also basic general concepts. For example, only half of the surveyed patients knew that the survival rate was the same for breast-conservation therapy and mastectomy. In addition, women who had a partial mastectomy were less knowledgeable about local recurrence rates than were women who had a mastectomy.

"This finding was concerning because patients who opt for partial mastectomy need to be aware of their slightly higher risk of local recurrence," said Clara N. Lee, MD, MPP, FACS, lead author of the study and an associate professor and director of surgical research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. "Patients and providers need to have transparent conversations about treatment options, risks and goals in order to make fully informed decisions."

The study stated that improving the quality of decisions about breast cancer surgery will require interventions to enhance patient knowledge and incorporate preferences into the decision-making process. "Two things are needed to help improve the quality of decisions. First, it is important to have a way to measure decision quality so that providers can get feedback on how they are doing. Second, we need to use decision tools that have been proven to inform and engage patients, more consistently," added Karen Sepucha, PhD, senior study author, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Of the 746 patients identified in the study, 440 participated (59 percent). The data showed that 45.9 percent of respondents knew that local recurrence risk is higher after breast conservation and 55.7 percent knew that survival is equivalent for the two options. Participants reported more frequent discussion of partial mastectomy and its advantages than of mastectomy, and 83.2 percent reported the provider made a treatment recommendation.

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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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