Long-term decision regret surrounding systemic therapy in older breast cancer survivors: A population-based survey study

J Geriatr Oncol. 2019 Nov;10(6):973-979. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2019.03.013. Epub 2019 Mar 30.


Introduction: Little is known regarding regret experienced by older breast cancer survivors surrounding the choice for adjuvant systemic therapy, which limits providers' ability to optimally engage in the shared decision-making process. To address this, we evaluated endocrine therapy and chemotherapy decisional regret in a population-based cohort of older breast cancer survivors.

Materials and methods: Nationally comprehensive Medicare claims identified women age ≥67 living in the US with non-metastatic breast cancer diagnosed in 2009 and still alive in 2015. The Decision Regret Scale, a validated index that assesses regret regarding treatment decisions on a scale of 0 (no regret) to 100, was used to measure regret for endocrine therapy and chemotherapy approximately 6 years after diagnosis and was adjusted for sampling weight. Multivariable logistic regression adjusted for patient, demographic, and treatment characteristics identified predictors of endocrine therapy and chemotherapy decision regret.

Results: Of the 480 respondents, 299 patients (61.1%) reported receiving endocrine therapy and 133 (27%) chemotherapy. The overall weighted decision-regret score was 17.2 (95%CI 13.6-20.8) for endocrine therapy and 17.7 (95%CI 12.1-23.3) for chemotherapy. Risk factors for higher endocrine therapy regret included white race (referent non-white race; estimate 12.8, 95%CI 3.0-22.7; P = 0.01) and post-graduate educational attainment (referent college education; 11.6, 95%CI 1.9-21.3; P = 0.02). The only risk factor for chemotherapy regret, albeit marginal, was age ≥75 (referent age 67-74; 12.0, 95%CI -0.1-24.2; P = 0.05) CONCLUSION: Overall, decision regret levels regarding systemic therapy in older breast cancer survivors are reassuringly low. However, further studies are needed to explore drivers of regret in certain vulnerable subgroups of patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology*
  • Cancer Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States