Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

Many women face a lack of information and understanding after their breast cancer diagnoses. Currently, women have more treatment options than ever before, and patients have the ability to review the latest findings to identify the option that fits best for their lives.

However, that’s a daunting task at an emotional time. But with further research and resources, providers are working with patients to find pathways that meet those needs. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is funding research initiatives that can help patients and providers understand important health information, so they can make better personal care choices.

A recent PCORI study focused on understanding the decision-making process for patients with breast cancer when it comes to mastectomies. The researchers also sought to understand survival benefits, prevention measures, and quality of life issues associated with patient decisions. The study is completed and under review with PCORI.

According to Abenaa Brewster, MD, a PCORI awardee and medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “By arming patients immediately after diagnosis with information not only on the physical aspects but also on how women later regard their physical appearance and their decision, the study may enable patients to make better-educated decisions about their treatment.”

Oncology nurses are in the unique position to help their patients understand the latest information and treatment options available. Shared decision making is key to successful patient experiences and the best quality of life for patients undergoing treatment for cancer.