Perception critical to women's breast reconstruction decisio
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When women undergo surgical treatment for breast cancer, they often also have reconstructive surgery but new research reveals many women feel left out of the decision making.

Because the decision-making process is clearly influenced by the recommendations of doctors, patient-clinician trust is critical in the lead-up to the postmastectomy breast reconstruction decision. Yet there are very few metrics available that analyze the duration of consultation between surgeons, nurses, and patients, and particularly how patients perceive and are influenced by the expert knowledge they are provided.

A survey was distributed to 53 specialist breast surgeons, 101 breast care nurses, and 689 former or current patients with breast cancer, seeking data relating to the duration of the first consultation, level of knowledge of the individuals involved, and level of involvement of each party in the final choice of therapy.

Researchers found that;

-- In the sample breast care nurses and surgeons have quite different perceptions of how much time the other spends engaging the patient at their first consultation. Each thought that they spent more time with patients than the other.

--And as for the patients, approximately one in every three women stated their surgeon had more input than they did when deciding which type of breast reconstruction to undergo.

"When it came to the choice of breast reconstruction, our study revealed a large proportion of women who felt or believed that their surgeon effectively made a decision on their behalf when it came to their reconstruction," the author said.

British Journal of Surgery