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Majority of Cancer Patients Choose Breast Conservation

Physician's advice and chance for complete cure weigh most heavily on a woman's decision

MONDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 72 percent of patients with localized breast cancer choose breast-conserving surgery over modified radical mastectomy, but less than 14 percent say they received the amount of information they preferred, researchers report in the July 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Margaret L. Russell, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Calgary, Canada, and colleagues studied factors influencing 157 breast cancer patients to choose breast-conserving surgery or modified radical mastectomy, and their sense of involvement and control over the decision.

The researchers found that 71.3 percent of the patients chose breast-conserving surgery, while 28.7 percent selected modified radical mastectomy. Aside from the patient herself, other people who played a role in the decision were the patient's physician and her significant other. The physician's advice and the chance for complete cure were most influential.

Although 60 percent of women were as involved as they wanted in their treatment choice, only 13.6 percent reported getting all the data they wanted.

"Both patient and surgeon factors are important predictors of type of planned surgery," the authors write. "There is a gap between women's preferences and actual experiences with regard to information provided and patient participation in treatment choices, with women's desire for more information about their treatment being most prevalent."

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