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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2013 Jan;39(1):36-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2012.08.010. Epub 2012 Sep 8.

The option of delayed reconstructive surgery following mastectomy for invasive breast cancer: why do so few patients embrace this offer?

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  • 1University Hospital Basel (UHB), Breast center, Spitalstrasse 21, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Only a minority of patients who had undergone mastectomy for invasive breast cancer (BC) chose the option for delayed breast reconstruction (BR). We hypothesized that this might partly be (a) due to a lack of information, or (b) because many women cope well with their altered body.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional survey was completed by 101 early-stage BC survivors who had primary mastectomy. Twenty-six patients had delayed BR. The survey included measures to attitudes to BR and experiences/expectations about information related to BR.

RESULTS:

The percentage of patients who was informed regarding BR was high (97%). For 39.5% such information was not considered important, neither before mastectomy, nor during follow-up; advanced age was an important factor for the disinterest in information (odds ratio 1.81; 95% CI: 1.04-3.16; p = 0.033). For women without BR, the perception that mastectomy caused a serious damage to their body image changed over time to perceiving the operation as an acceptable alteration of the body (-1.10; 95% CI, -1.52, -0.64; p < 0.001); this process was similar to that in patients who had BR (paired t-test: -2.12; 95% CI, -2.82, -1.41; p > 0.001). From 63 patients who reported no intention to have a BR in the future, 28 (44.4%) responded with answers that showed a high satisfaction with their mastectomies without BR; 30 patients (47.6%) reported reasons, which might potentially be dispelled by information by an experienced reconstructive surgeon.

CONCLUSIONS:

We did not find any evidence that the low number of patients who chose delayed BR results from a lack of information regarding this procedure. The majority of patients overcome negative attitudes towards their mastectomy quickly and are uninterested in BR. Patients who are ambivalent must be identified; these women require particular attention and should receive intensive counseling.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22967961
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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