Background: Among women with breast cancer (BC), greater BC knowledge has been associated with greater participation in treatment decision-making, patient satisfaction, and survival. The objective of this study was to identify modifiable determinants associated with BC knowledge.
Methods: Data were collected from a telephone survey of medically underserved women with BC in California (n = 909). The dependent variable for analysis was BC knowledge. The modifiable determinants that were assessed included 1) physician-patient discussion of BC topics, 2) receipt of written BC-related material, 3) self-efficacy in interacting with physicians, 4) physician emotional support, 5) discussions with a BC survivor, and 6) office visit support by relatives/friends. Multivariate linear regression was used to examine the effect of those determinants on BC knowledge while controlling for socioeconomic factors, clinical characteristics, and treatment received.
Results: The average knowledge score was 6.9 (standard deviation, 2.3; range, 0-10). In multivariate analyses among women with less physician emotional support, those with the greatest self-efficacy had higher knowledge scores than those with the least self-efficacy (8.2 vs 5.4; P < .001). For women with low self-efficacy, those with more physician emotional support had higher knowledge scores than those with less physician emotional support when the analysis was controlled for confounding factors (6.3 vs 5.4; P < .001); physician information-giving had no effect on BC knowledge.
Conclusions: The study findings suggested significant associations of patient self-efficacy and physician emotional support with BC knowledge; physician emotional support appeared to be more important than physician informational support. Further research will be needed to investigate whether interventions that target these 2 domains may be effective in increasing BC knowledge in disadvantaged populations.