Importance: Breast reconstruction has the potential to improve a person's body image and quality of life but has important risks. Variations in who undergoes breast reconstruction have led to questions about the quality of patient decisions.
Objective: To assess the quality of patient decisions about breast reconstruction.
Design, setting, and participants: A prospective, cross-sectional survey study was conducted from June 27, 2012, to February 28, 2014, at a single, academic, multidisciplinary oncology clinic among women planning to undergo mastectomy for stage I to III invasive ductal or lobular breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ, or prophylaxis.
Exposures: Mastectomy only and mastectomy with reconstruction.
Main outcome and measures: Knowledge, as ascertained using the Decision Quality Instrument; preference concordance, based on rating and ranking of key attributes; and decision quality, defined as having knowledge of 50% or more and preference concordance.
Results: During the 20-month period, 214 patients were eligible, 182 were approached, and 32 missed. We enrolled 145 patients (79.7% enrollment rate), and received surveys from 131 patients (72.0% participation rate). Five participants became ineligible. The final study population was 126 patients. Among the 126 women in the study (mean [SD] age, 53.2 [12.1] years), the mean (SD) knowledge score was 58.5% (16.2%) and did not differ by treatment group (mastectomy only, 55.2% [15.0%]; mastectomy with reconstruction, 60.5% [16.5%]). A total of 82 of 123 participants (66.7%) had a calculated treatment preference of mastectomy only; 39 of these women (47.6%) underwent mastectomy only. A total of 41 participants (32.5%) had a calculated treatment preference of mastectomy with reconstruction; 36 of these women (87.8%) underwent mastectomy with reconstruction. Overall, 52 of 120 participants (43.3%) made a high-quality decision. In multivariable analysis, white race/ethnicity (odds ratio [OR], 2.72; 95% CI, 1.00-7.38; P = .05), having private insurance (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.35-1.93; P < .001), having a high school education or less (vs some college) (OR, 4.84; 95% CI, 1.22-19.21; P = .02), having a college degree (vs some college) (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.53-2.49; P < .001), and not having a malignant neoplasm (eg, BRCA carriers) (OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.25-7.85; P = .01) were independently associated with making a high-quality decision.
Conclusions and relevance: A minority of patients undergoing mastectomy in a single academic center made a high-quality decision about reconstruction. Shared decision making is needed to support decisions about breast reconstruction.