The balance of clinician and patient input into treatment decision-making in older women with operable breast cancer

Psychooncology. 2015 Dec;24(12):1761-6. doi: 10.1002/pon.3853. Epub 2015 Jun 4.


Objective: Primary endocrine therapy (PET) is an alternative to surgery for oestrogen receptor positive operable breast cancer in some older women. However the decision to offer PET involves complex trade-offs and is influenced by both patient choice and healthcare professional (HCP) preference. This study aimed to compare the views of patients and HCPs about this decision and explore decision-making (DM) preferences and whether these are taken into account during consultations.

Methods: This multicentre, UK, mixed methods study had three components: (a) questionnaires to older women undergoing counseling about breast cancer treatment options which assessed their DM preferences and realities; (b) qualitative interviews with older women with operable breast cancer offered a choice of either surgery or PET and (c) qualitative interviews with HCPs (both of which focused on DM preferences in this setting).

Results: Thirty-three patients and 34 HCPs were interviewed. A range of opinions about patient involvement in DM were identified. Patients indicated varying preferences for DM involvement which were variably taken into account by HCPs. These qualitative findings were broadly supported by the questionnaire results. Most patients (536/729; 73.5%) achieved their preferred DM style; however, the remainder felt that their DM preferences had not been taken into consideration.

Conclusions: These results suggest that whilst many older women achieve their desired level of DM engagement, some do not, raising the possibility that they may be making choices which are not concordant with their treatment preferences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Patient Preference / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Prognosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires