CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Clara Lee, MD, MPP, FACS, associate professor of surgery, and David Ollila, MD, professor of surgery and co-director of the UNC Breast Center, recently conducted a study in which 440 patients with Stage I/II breast cancer responded to a mailed survey called the Decision Quality Instrument in order to measure knowledge, goals, and involvement in surgical treatment decisions. UNC medical student Nesochi Adimoral also helped author the study.
The results showed that only 45.9 percent of respondents knew that local recurrence risk is higher after breast conservation surgery than with mastectomy. In addition, participants reported more frequent discussion of partial mastectomy and its advantages than of mastectomy, and only 48.6 percent report being asked their preference.
In response, Lee believes physicians, medical centers and practices should develop decision support systems for these kinds of decisions, which could take the form of paper, video, or computerized tools that give patients information, help them clarify what is most important to them, and prepare them for the consultation with their provider.
For more information on this study, see the full news article here, and the ACS journal article on their study here.
-Victor Calderon, Department of Surgery