Do Women With Breast Cancer Feel Well Informed About Surgery Options?

March 19, 2018
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, FAAN

A group of researchers in the northeast United States conducted a study to explore how women become informed about breast cancer surgery options.

A group of researchers in the northeast United States conducted a study to explore how women become informed about breast cancer surgery options. An internet survey was conducted among women residing in the U.S. who reported undergoing lumpectomy (215 women), mastectomy (215 women) or both (132 women).

About half (47%) of the women who underwent lumpectomy, 67% of the women who had a mastectomy, and 28% of women who had both procedures reported that they felt “completely informed” about treatment options before undergoing surgery. A third (35%) of women who had lumpectomies, 31% of women who had mastectomies, and 22% of women who had both procedures reported that that “making a quick decision” was more important to them than “thoroughly researching all options.” The women who had lumpectomies and mastectomies and who relied on their surgeon’s recommendations without conducted additional research about treatment options reported less confidence in feeling “completely informed” about their treatment.

The researchers noted that many women who had surgery for breast cancer did not feel that they were fully informed about their surgical options. They concluded that this may be due to a sense of urgency to undergo surgery or insufficient information provided to women, or sought out by the women.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the researchers noted the need for surgeons to fully inform women about their breast cancer surgical treatment options.