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Can J Surg. 2017 Dec 1;61(1):15716. doi: 10.1503/cjs.015716. [Epub ahead of print]

Patient-perceived barriers to radiation therapy for breast cancer.

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From the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, London, Ont. (Guidolin, Lock, Brackstone); and the London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ont. (Lock, Brackstone).


Studies have shown that a number of women do not receive adjuvant radiation therapy following breast-conserving surgery; the reasons have not been well investigated. We reviewed the charts of 267 patients in our institution who did not receive radiation therapy following surgery in order to determine patientstated reasons for nonreceipt. We found that 43% of patients did not receive radiation because they received a completion mastectomy. Excluding these patients, reasons for nonreceipt of radiation therapy were sorted into 9 categories. Most patients declined radiation therapy (against physician advice). We identified 3 major barriers to receipt of radiation therapy: improper patient selection, transportation or ambulatory issues and patient fear surrounding radiation toxicity. All of these reasons are surmountable barriers to radiation receipt.


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