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One-Third of PCPs Discuss Breast Cancer Treatments With Patients

FRIDAY, Feb. 22, 2019 — One-third of primary care providers (PCPs) report participating in breast cancer treatment decisions, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in Cancer.

Lauren P. Wallner, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed 517 PCPs (a 61 percent response rate) seeing patients with newly diagnosed, early-stage breast cancer about how frequently they discussed surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy options with patients; how comfortable they were with these discussions; whether they had the necessary knowledge to participate in decision making; and what their confidence was in their ability to help (on five-item Likert-type scales).

The researchers found that 34 percent of PCPs reported discussing surgery with their patients, 23 percent discussed radiation, and 22 percent discussed chemotherapy options. Among PCPs reporting more involvement in surgical decisions, 22 percent reported not being comfortable having a discussion and 17 percent reported not feeling that they had the necessary knowledge to participate in treatment decision making. PCPs positively assessing their ability to participate were more likely to participate in all three decisions (odds ratio [OR] for surgery, 6.01; OR for radiation, 8.37; OR for chemotherapy, 6.56).

“A third of PCPs reported participating in breast cancer treatment decisions, yet gaps in their knowledge about decision making and in their confidence in their ability to help exist,” the authors write. “Efforts to increase PCPs’ knowledge about breast cancer treatment options may be warranted.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, and another disclosed ties to a molecular diagnostic company.

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Posted: February 2019

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