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Br J Cancer. 2004 Jun 1;90(11):2123-30.

Predictors of patients' choices for breast-conserving therapy or mastectomy: a prospective study.

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Academic Medical Center, Department of Medical Psychology (J4-401), PO Box 22 660, 1100 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


A study was undertaken to describe the treatment preferences and choices of patients with breast cancer, and to identify predictors of undergoing breast-conserving therapy (BCT) or mastectomy (MT). Consecutive patients with stage I/II breast cancer were eligible. Information about predictor variables, including socio-demographics, quality of life, patients' concerns, decision style, decisional conflict and perceived preference of the surgeon was collected at baseline, before decision making and surgery. Patients received standard information (n=88) or a decision aid (n=92) as a supplement to support decision making. A total of 180 patients participated in the study. In all, 72% decided to have BCT (n=123); 28% chose MT (n=49). Multivariate analysis showed that what patients perceived to be their surgeons' preference and the patients' concerns regarding breast loss and local tumour recurrence were the strongest predictors of treatment preference. Treatment preferences in itself were highly predictive of the treatment decision. The decision aid did not influence treatment choice. The results of this study demonstrate that patients' concerns and their perceptions of the treatment preferences of the physicians are important factors in patients' decision making. Adequate information and communication are essential to base treatment decisions on realistic concerns, and the treatment preferences of patients.

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