Study: Breast Cancer Patients Uninformed About Possible Options

Study: Breast Cancer Patients Uninformed About Possible OptionsResearchers have come out saying that in too many cases, doctors are doing a poor job of informing women in America diagnosed with early stage breast cancer about how the disease will affect them and options that are available, HealthDay reports.

The study, which was conducted by experts at the University of North Carolina, surveyed breast cancer survivors on their knowledge of the disease, and found that respondents generally only answered about half of the questions correctly. Less than half stated that their surgeon had even asked them about a personal preference to surgery prior to treatment.

"We found that breast cancer survivors had fairly major gaps in their knowledge about their surgical options, including about the implications for recurrence and survival," said study lead author Dr. Clara Lee, an associate professor of surgery and director of surgical research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

The research also found that women who said they preferred mastectomy, over breast-conserving lumpectomy, were less likely to receive treatment that matched the patient's goals. Lee stated that the fact that only 48.6 percent of the patients recalled being asked what their preference was in surgery is of high concern.

According to the American Cancer Society, most women with breast cancer undergo some form of surgery, as it is often needed to remove a tumor in the breast. There are many options for going about this, which include breast-conserving surgery as well as mastectomy.

In breast-conserving surgery, only part of the affected breast is removed, and includes the procedures lumpectomy and quadrantectomy. Such therapies are beneficial, as they can sometimes omit the use of radiation therapy after surgery.