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Soc Sci Med. 1988;26(6):583-5.

Offering patients a choice of surgery for early breast cancer: a reduction in anxiety and depression in patients and their husbands.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The University, Southampton, England.


Thirty patients with early breast cancer have been studied prospectively to assess whether being offered a choice of surgery (simple mastectomy or wide excision plus radiotherapy) influences levels of anxiety and depression pre- and post-operatively. A significantly higher percentage of the patients not offered a choice of surgery experienced clinical levels of anxiety and depression pre-operatively and up to 2 months post-operatively compared with patients offered a choice; the results were also similar for the husbands of these patients. At 6 months, differences between the 2 groups were not statistically significant, although the trend remained the same with more patients not offered a choice of treatment showing high levels of anxiety and depression. Patients offered a choice of surgery had similar pre-operative levels of anxiety and depression to patients with benign breast disease and patients undergoing surgery for non-cancerous conditions. This study indicates that with proper counselling patients and husbands suffer less stress if they are allowed to take an active part in the treatment of their cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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