A survey of breast cancer physicians regarding patient involvement in breast cancer treatment decisions

Hillyer, Grace A.; Hershman, Dawn L.; Kushi, Lawrence H.; Lamerato, Lois; Ambrosone, Christine B.; Bovbjerg, Dana H.; Mandelblatt, Jeanne S.; Rana, Sargam; Neugut, Alfred I.

Purpose: Shared breast cancer treatment decision-making between patients and physicians increases patient treatment satisfaction and compliance and is influenced by physician-related factors. Attitudes and behaviors about patient involvement in breast cancer treatment decisions and treatment-related communication were assessed by specialty among breast cancer physicians of women enrolled in the Breast Cancer Quality of Care Study (BQUAL). Results: Of 275 BQUAL physicians identified, 50.0% responded to the survey. Most physicians spend 46-60 min with the patient during the initial consult visit and 51.5% report that the treatment decision is made in one visit. Oncologists spend more time with new breast cancer patients during the initial consult (p = 0.021), and find it more difficult to handle their own feelings than breast surgeons (p = less than 0.001). Conclusion: Breast surgeons and oncologists share similar attitudes and behaviors related to patient involvement in treatment decision-making, yet oncologists report more difficulty managing their own feelings during the decision-making process.


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June 7, 2013