Decision Control, Support a Key in Early Breast Cancer

Spring 2016 As Seen in Our Spring 2016 Issue
Decision Control, Support a Key in Early Breast Cancer

Patient uncertainty can lead to poorer quality-of-life outcomes

A breast cancer diagnosis triggers a flood of physical and emotional challenges as well as uncertainty about treatment options, and support for patients’ decisions can have significant outcome implications. “An evidence-based practice (EBP) change that supports the patient decision-making preference during the critical period of treatment decision making is substantially supported in the literature because of the associated increase in patient confidence and satisfaction in the treatment decision,” write Mary Donnelly-Strozzo, DNP, MPH,

and Anne Belcher, PhD, RN, FAAN, in “Decision Support for Women with Early Breast Cancer.”

Approximately 100,000 new cases of lymph node-negative, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. Age, gender, and educational level can influence “preferences regarding decision control, but these covariates do not account completely for the differences in decision-making preferences among patients,” Donnelly-Strozzo and Belcher report. Patients who feel a lack of control over their care, on top of their uncertainty, can experience worse quality-of-life outcomes. Patients who are not satisfied with their treatment decisions have “had to contend with more difficulties with treatment side effects.”

Their review of the literature suggests that “women with early breast cancer can benefit from nursing interventions targeted at supporting their preferred level of decision control when making decisions regarding treatment choices.”

Publication: Clinical Scholars Review, October 2015

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