Patient's needs and preferences in routine follow-up after treatment for breast cancer

Br J Cancer. 2004 Mar 22;90(6):1144-50. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6601655.


The purpose of the study was to analyse the needs of women who participated in a routine follow-up programme after treatment for primary breast cancer. A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a postal questionnaire among women without any sign of relapse during the routine follow-up period. The questionnaire was sent 2-4 years after primary surgical treatment. Most important to patients was information on long-term effects of treatment and prognosis, discussion of prevention of breast cancer and hereditary factors and changes in the untreated breast. Patients preferred additional investigations (such as X-ray and blood tests) to be part of routine follow-up visits. Less satisfaction with interpersonal aspects and higher scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scale were related to stronger preferences for additional investigation. Receiving adjuvant hormonal or radiotherapy was related to a preference for a more intensive follow-up schedule. There were no significant differences between patients treated with mastectomy compared to treated with breast-conserving therapy. During routine follow-up after a diagnosis of breast cancer, not all patients needed all types of information. When introducing alternative follow-up schedules, individual patients' information needs and preferences should be identified early and incorporated into the follow-up routine care, to target resources and maximise the likelihood that positive patient outcomes will result.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors