Women Remain Unsure of Breast Cancer Survival Rates

Recent research by Sarah Hawley, PhD, MPH, finds that only half of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer clearly understand survival and recurrence rates associated with different treatment approaches. The study, in the April 1, 2008, online version of the journal Health Services Research, looked at 1132 women from Detroit and Los Angeles who had undergone surgical treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ, an invasive but not metastatic cancer. Only 51% of the women knew that a mastectomy has the same five-year survival rate as a lumpectomy plus radiation. African American-women, Hispanic women, older women, and women with less education were even less likely to know the survival rate. Dr. Hawley comments, “Even though this information has been publicly available for many years, clearly the information is not being communicated from surgeons to patients in an effective way.” Dr. Hawley’s work has been widely reported in the press. Her collaborators on this research were Angela Fagerlin, Nancy K. Janz, and Steven J. Katz.