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Breast cancer surgery decisions difficult for many

August 3, 2006

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Approximately 40 percent of
women say they “feel uncomfortable” when asked to decide
between breast-conserving surgery and radical mastectomy for
breast cancer, according to a Canadian study.

Dr. Wally J. Temple and associates at the University of
Calgary in Alberta, Canada, conducted a study involving 157
women diagnosed with breast cancer who were all candidates for
breast-conserving surgery.

Nonetheless, only 71 percent ultimately expected to have
breast-conserving surgery, while the other 29 percent expected
a modified radical mastectomy.

The two main factors that influenced women’s treatment
choices were her doctor’s advice and the possibility for a
complete cure.

Approximately 60 percent of women were satisfied with the
degree that they participated in decision-making. That means
the decision-making process “made 40 percent of our patients
uncomfortable,” Temple and colleagues write in the Journal of
Clinical Oncology. “This might adversely affect some women’s
satisfaction with care.”

“There is a gap between the women’s preferences and actual
experiences for the provision of information and participation
in treatment; and this gap seems to be worse for information
than for participation,” the researchers conclude from their
data.

Surgeons could profit from education to decrease bias in
assisting women in making a decision, which should improve the
number of women choosing breast-conserving surgery if they are
candidates, the authors conclude.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, July 20, 2006.


Source: reuters



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