Breast reconstruction has the potential to improve a person's body image and quality of life but has important risks. Variations in who undergoes breast reconstruction have led to questions about the quality of patient decisions.
To assess the quality of patient decisions about breast reconstruction.
Design, setting, and participants
A prospective, cross-sectional survey study was conducted from June 27, 2012, to February 28, 2014, at a single, academic, multidisciplinary oncology clinic among women planning to undergo mastectomy for stage I to III invasive ductal or lobular breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ, or prophylaxis.
Mastectomy only and mastectomy with reconstruction.
Main outcome and measures
Knowledge, as ascertained using the Decision Quality Instrument; preference concordance, based on rating and ranking of key attributes; and decision quality, defined as having knowledge of 50% or more and preference concordance.
During the 20-month period, 214 patients were eligible, 182 were approached, and 32 missed. We enrolled 145 patients (79.7% enrollment rate), and received surveys from 131 patients (72.0% participation rate). Five participants became ineligible. The final study population was 126 patients. Among the 126 women in the study (mean [SD] age, 53.2 [12.1] years), the mean (SD) knowledge score was 58.5% (16.2%) and did not differ by treatment group (mastectomy only, 55.2% [15.0%]; mastectomy with reconstruction, 60.5% [16.5%]). A total of 82 of 123 participants (66.7%) had a calculated treatment preference of mastectomy only; 39 of these women (47.6%) underwent mastectomy only. A total of 41 participants (32.5%) had a calculated treatment preference of mastectomy with reconstruction; 36 of these women (87.8%) underwent mastectomy with reconstruction. Overall, 52 of 120 participants (43.3%) made a high-quality decision. In multivariable analysis, white race/ethnicity (odds ratio [OR], 2.72; 95% CI, 1.00-7.38; P = .05), having private insurance (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.35-1.93; P < .001), having a high school education or less (vs some college) (OR, 4.84; 95% CI, 1.22-19.21; P = .02), having a college degree (vs some college) (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.53-2.49; P < .001), and not having a malignant neoplasm (eg, BRCA carriers) (OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.25-7.85; P = .01) were independently associated with making a high-quality decision.
Conclusions and relevance
A minority of patients undergoing mastectomy in a single academic center made a high-quality decision about reconstruction. Shared decision making is needed to support decisions about breast reconstruction.