An outcomes article in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery asks the question: “Are patients making high-quality decisions about breast reconstruction after mastectomy?”
The objective of the study was to “measure women’s knowledge about reconstruction and to evaluate the degree to which treatments reflected patients’ goals and preferences.” Their conclusion (bold emphasis is mine):
Women treated with mastectomy in this study were not well-informed about breast reconstruction. Treatments were associated with patients’ goals and concerns, however, and patients were highly involved in their decisions. Knowledge deficits suggest that breast cancer patients would benefit from interventions to support their decision making.
Granted the study was small, but it left me wondering if we the medical community fails to educate these women.
The study involved a cross-sectional survey of early-stage breast cancer survivors from four university medical centers. The survey included measures of knowledge about specific reconstruction facts, personal goals and concerns, and involvement in decision making. Only 84 patients participated (59 percent response rate). Participants answered only 37.9 percent of knowledge questions correctly. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*