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Report reveals why personalizing support for women with breast cancer could save lives

SUMMIT, N.J., Nov. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Personalizing support for women living with breast cancer could help them achieve better health outcomes through improved adherence, according to a new White Paper published by Atlantis Healthcare.    


This latest report from the Adherence Research Summarized™ series has been published to help healthcare providers, organized customers and pharma work with patients to overcome the challenges they face while taking preventative breast cancer therapies.

The issue of non-adherence in breast cancer was recently highlighted by a study from the University of Glasgow showing that improved adherence to Tamoxifen, a breast cancer hormone therapy, could prevent 434 deaths each year among women with breast cancer, and save up to £30 million (equivalent of nearly $50 million) in healthcare costs.[1]

"Research indicates as many as 41% of women choose to discontinue their breast cancer treatment," confirms John Weinman, Professor of Psychology as applied to Medicine at King's College London, who reviewed this new report. "While this may seem surprising, it's important to consider why they make this decision."

"Research shows there are certain factors that contribute to non-adherence in breast cancer, including treatment side effects, an individual's personal beliefs about their treatment and condition, and the quality of their healthcare consultations."

Professor Weinman explains that there are ways to help women overcome these challenges.

"The evidence clearly shows that for a support intervention to improve adherence, it must be personalized. As reasons for non-adherence differ between individuals, interventions should be tailored according to a person's unique needs and preferences."

As described in the report, this approach is currently being investigated by other scientists in breast cancer. In a major project funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Professor Annette Stanton from the University of California and her colleagues Professor Keith Petrie (University of Auckland) and Dr. Ann Partridge (Harvard Medical School) recruited over 1,000 women who had taken hormone therapy for breast cancer within the previous twelve months.  Their study concluded that different women have different support needs, and these must be addressed to have a significant impact on adherence rates. "Some women may truly benefit from information and education about the importance of medication in terms of survival benefit. Some women may need information on how to deal with the side effects," says Professor Stanton.

Professor Weinman concludes, "Just as treatments for breast cancer are becoming increasingly personalized, so too should interventions designed to support patients taking them."

To download the breast cancer Adherence Research Summarized™ report, click here.

About Atlantis Healthcare
Established in 1993, Atlantis Healthcare creates and executes tailored patient support programs and personalized interventions to address treatment adherence across a wide range of chronic and acute diseases, worldwide.  Led by one of the world's largest health psychology teams, our patient-centric approach is designed to improve health outcomes and deliver optimal value for all healthcare stakeholders.

[1] McCowan C, Wang S, Thompson AM, et al, The value of high adherence to tamoxifen in women with breast cancer: a community-based cohort study, Br J Cancer. 2013 Sep 3;109(5):1172-80. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.464. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

SOURCE Atlantis Healthcare
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