Rates of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) have risen substantially, yet little is known about how and to what extent CPM is discussed within surgical oncology visits at the time of treatment decision-making. We examined CPM discussions in naturally occurring interactions between sporadic breast cancer patients and their surgical oncology providers. Women with early-stage unilateral disease were recruited before their first surgical visit and completed brief questionnaires to determine study eligibility and interest in treatment options. After their visits, enrolled patients and their providers completed questionnaires assessing discussion of and interest in CPM. Audio-recorded visits from 36 unique patients were randomly selected, transcribed, and analyzed. A CPM discussion was present in 28 transcripts. Approximately half of CPM discussions were initiated by the patient or the oncology provider. The topic of CPM was most frequently introduced while reviewing available treatment options. Patients were most interested in pursuing CPM to reduce the risk of future breast cancer. Providers most frequently responded by offering information (e.g., about risk of contralateral disease). A high level of agreement was found among patient, provider, and observer ratings of whether or not CPM was discussed. CPM discussions were consistently present within our sample. Results can be used to build providers' skills and bring provider-patient communication more in line with best practices and recommendations from leading professional medical societies.
- breast cancer
- contralateral prophylactic mastectomy
- decision making
- provider-patient communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience