Are surgeons discussing breast reconstruction with Ca patients?

April 1, 2008

Because virtually no information exists on the frequency with which general surgeons discuss breast reconstruction prior to surgical treatment for breast cancer. . . .researchers from Michigan surveyed almost 2,000 women under age 80 years. . .

Because virtually no information exists on the frequency with which general surgeons discuss breast reconstruction prior to surgical treatment for breast cancer, or whether such a discussion influences whether women choose breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy, researchers from Michigan surveyed almost 2,000 women under age 80 years with breast cancer who were reported to the Detroit and Los Angeles Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer registries. The women were asked whether they had a discussion about reconstruction with their general surgeon, whether the discussion had an impact on their willingness to be treated with a mastectomy, and whether, in fact, they received a mastectomy.

The authors of the study found that discussing breast reconstruction prior to surgery doubles a woman's willingness to consider mastectomy as a possible treatment option (OR, 2.06; P<.01) and more than quadruples the number who actually undergo the procedure (OR, 4.48; P<.01).

Only about one third of the patients participating in the survey reported having their surgeon discuss breast reconstruction with them during the surgical decision-making process for their disease. The surgeons were significantly more likely to discuss reconstruction with younger, more educated patients with large tumors than with their other patients.