An evaluation of factors affecting preference for immediate, delayed or no breast reconstruction in women with high-risk breast cancer

Psychooncology. 2016 Dec;25(12):1463-1469. doi: 10.1002/pon.4087. Epub 2016 Feb 16.


Objective: Women with locally advanced breast cancer face many conflicting issues affecting their choice of immediate versus delayed versus no breast reconstruction (BR). This single-centre pilot study assessed high-risk women's reasons and priorities in choosing the timing and type of BR in a setting where all clinically feasible options were discussed with all women.

Methods: Fifty-one women from a metropolitan breast oncology practice, who were likely to require post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT), were recruited after making their decision about BR. Participants completed a questionnaire (69% preoperatively), adapted from Reaby (1998), evaluating the factors affecting their decision. Responses were subsequently classified into eight issue-based domains (feeling normal, feeling good, being practical, influence of others, expectations, fear, timing and unnecessary). Demographic and clinical data were also collected.

Results: There were 32 immediate BR (IBR = 63%), seven delayed BR (DBR = 13%) and 12 no BR (NBR = 23%). Analysis using the chi square test showed women over 60 were more likely to choose NBR (p = 0.005), while women living with a partner were more likely to choose IBR (p = 0.032). The most relevant domains for both IBR and DBR were 'feeling good' and 'feeling normal'; and for NBR were 'unnecessary' and 'being practical'. Although all women understood pre-operatively the potential aesthetic limitations of PMRT, 63% still chose IBR.

Conclusions: These data will enable clinicians, researchers and women with breast cancer to gain a clearer understanding of the factors that impact on the choice and timing of BR in women requiring PMRT, a major breast cancer survivorship decision. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / psychology*
  • Mastectomy / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors