Randomized trial of a patient decision aid for choice of surgical treatment for breast cancer

Med Decis Making. 2001 Jan-Feb;21(1):1-6. doi: 10.1177/0272989X0102100101.


A decision aid for the surgical treatment of early breast cancer was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial. The decision aid, a tape and workbook, includes explicit presentation of probabilities, photographs and graphics, and a values clarification exercise. Community surgeons were randomized to use the decision aid or a control pamphlet. Patients completed a questionnaire prior to using the decision aid, after reviewing it but prior to surgery, and 6 months after enrollment. There was no difference in anxiety, knowledge, or decisional regret across the 2 groups. There was a nonsignificant trend toward lower decisional conflict in the decision aid group. A subgroup of women who were initially leaning toward mastectomy or were unsure had lower decisional conflict. Although the decision aid had minimal impact on the main study outcomes, a subgroup may have benefited. Such subgroups should be identified, and appropriate decision support interventions should be developed and evaluated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Participation*