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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Jul 20;24(21):3367-73.

Conservation surgery for breast cancer as the preferred choice: a prospective analysis.

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  • 1Department of Oncology and Surgery, The University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



To describe the proportion of women who anticipate having breast-conserving surgery (BCS) versus modified radical mastectomy (MRM), the factors they considered when making treatment choices, the degree to which they perceived they had participated in and had control of the treatment decision, and to explore factors associated with type of planned surgery.


Prospective cohort study conducted among patients attending a tertiary care hospital in Alberta, Canada from 1992 to 1995. Participants had a first diagnosis of localized unilateral breast cancer, and were, in the opinions of their surgeons, candidates for either BCS or MRM.


Of 157 participants, 71.3% anticipated having BCS and 28.7% anticipated MRM. Referents perceived to play an important role in decision making included self, doctor, and significant other. The two top-ranked items perceived to have influenced treatment choice were doctor's advice and possibility of complete cure. Most women (60%) participated in treatment choice to the degree that they preferred, but only 13.6% received their preferred amount of information. The type of planned surgery was predicted by surgeon, contribution of doctor to choice of treatment, importance of breasts to sexuality, self-efficacy, and concerns about cancer recurrence from a multivariable logistic regression model.


Both patient and surgeon factors are important predictors of type of planned surgery. There is a gap between women's preferences and actual experiences with regard to information provided and patient participation in treatment choices, with women's desire for more information about their treatment being most prevalent.

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