Communication gaps between patients with breast cancer, caregivers, oncology care team

the ONA take:

Survey results presented at the 37th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium reveal that discussions on basic disease information between patients with metastatic breast cancer, their caregivers, and oncologists need improvement.

The “Make your dialogue count” survey was conducted from June 2014 through August 2014. It was developed to gain insight from adult women ages 21 years and older with metastatic breast cancer, adult caregivers of these patients who attend at least half the patients’ clinic visits, and medical oncologists who treat five or more women with metastatic breast cancer per month.

Survey results indicate most patients (83%) and caregivers (76%) are extremely or very involved in treatment decisions; however, many patients and caregivers did not know the HER2 status (20% and 29%, respectively) or the HR status (16% and 30%, respectively).

In addition, 27% of oncologists indicated that they do not discuss the fact that metastatic breast cancer is incurable with patients in certain circumstances.

Most patients (73%) want more information on preventing and minimizing side effects; however, 43% of patients do not always openly discuss side effects with their oncologists. The investigators conclude that improved dialogue can clarify patients’ and caregivers’ expectations about disease management.

Shared decision-making improves patient satisfaction during radiation therapy
Discussions on basic disease information between patients with metastatic breast cancer, caregivers, and oncologists.
Musa Mayer, a breast cancer survivor and advocate with in New York City, presented results of the "Make your dialogue count" survey, which was conducted from June 2014 through August 2014.
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