Information acquisition for women facing surgical treatment for breast cancer: influencing factors and selected outcomes

Patient Educ Couns. 2007 Dec;69(1-3):5-19. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2007.08.002. Epub 2007 Sep 24.


Objective: To examine, summarize, and critically assess the literature focusing on information use by early-stage breast cancer patients.

Methods: Empirical articles reporting the information needs, sources used/preferred, and intervention-related outcomes experienced by patients in the context of making a treatment choice were chosen. Several healthcare databases were searched. Articles were limited to those published in English between January 1, 1986 and March 31, 2006.

Results: A total of 25 articles met the inclusion criteria. Information needs were consistent, and highest rankings were for (in order): information about chances for a cure, stage of disease, and treatment options. Results were equivocal regarding the factors found to influence information need: age, time since diagnosis, and preferred role in decision-making. The highest ranked information sources accessed and preferred were physicians. Age, education, and type of treatment chosen influenced source choice. Patients using consumer decision aids (CDAs) had less decisional conflict, higher satisfaction with the decision made and the decision process, and higher knowledge levels.

Conclusion: Information needs and source use were influenced by several personal and contextual factors.

Practice implications: A better understanding of source use could provide more effective ways of disseminating information to patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Decision Making
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Mastectomy* / education
  • Mastectomy* / methods
  • Mastectomy* / psychology
  • Models, Educational
  • Models, Psychological
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Patient Selection
  • Power, Psychological
  • Research Design
  • Social Support
  • Women* / education
  • Women* / psychology