Breast reconstruction surgery rarely discussed with patients before treatment

December 23rd, 2007 - 6:17 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 23 (ANI): Most general surgeons do not discuss reconstruction with patients before surgical breast cancer treatment, a study has found.

The study, led by Dr. Amy Alderman of the University of Michigan Medical Centre, found that only one in three patients eligible for mastectomy or breast conserving surgery had such discussions.

The option of breast reconstruction has increased treatment choices for women with breast cancer. Women with early stage disease who are not likely to need post-mastectomy radiation are considered eligible for reconstruction at the time of surgery. However, little is known about how often surgeons discuss breast reconstruction.

In the study, the researchers surveyed a 1,178 women aged 79 years or younger who had undergone a surgical procedure for stage I, II, or III breast cancer between December 2001 to January 2003.

The analysis found that only 33 percent of patients had a general surgeon discuss breast reconstruction with them during the surgical decision-making process for their cancer.

Surgeons were significantly more likely to have this discussion with younger, more educated patients. Patients who discussed reconstruction with their surgeon were more willing to consider having a mastectomy and were more than 4 times likely to undergo the surgery.

The findings suggest that discussing reconstruction will impact womens decisions regarding initial surgery for their breast cancer.

The researchers said that the results would have important implications for patient care and policy.

This research suggests that patients should be informed of all options in order to be educated consumers of healthcare and ensure maximal breast cancer treatment decision quality, they said.

Our results suggest a need for comprehensive breast cancer treatment decision aids, including information on initial surgery and other treatment options such as reconstruction, they added.

The study will appear in Cancer. (ANI)

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