Nav: Home

Interactive tool improves patient knowledge of breast cancer treatment options

January 30, 2018

ANN ARBOR, Michigan -- Breast cancer patients face complex decisions about their treatment.

"Knowledge is a key component of decision making, and yet it's consistently low even among patients who have received treatment. We need better tools to make these decisions more informed," says Sarah T. Hawley, Ph.D., MPH, professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine.

Hawley and colleagues from the Cancer Surveillance and Outcomes Research Team at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center developed an interactive online tool to help patients understand their treatment options.

Compared to a static informational website, patients using the interactive tool had higher knowledge and felt more prepared to make a treatment decision, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers enrolled 537 patients with newly diagnosed early stage breast cancer from multiple practices spread throughout four states. Patients were randomized to view a tailored, interactive decision tool called iCanDecide or to view similar information on a static website. They were then surveyed about five weeks later, after making their treatment decision; 496 completed the survey.

Overall, 61 percent of patients who used the interactive tool had a high knowledge of treatment options, compared to 42 percent of patients who viewed the static material. Patients who used the interactive tool were also more likely to say they felt prepared to make a treatment decision, 50 percent, compared to 33 percent of patients viewing static material.

The interactive site was designed to walk people systemically through key facts about breast cancer surgery, such as how often cancer recurs and the likelihood of needing additional surgery. A second module on the website helped patients understand options about systemic treatment, such as chemotherapy. The paper assesses only the surgery module.

"Instead of throwing the information on the website and hoping patients would figure it out, we gave them the bullet point fact, asked a question to see if they understood, and then allowed them to drill down and look at more detailed information. They couldn't just bounce around. They had to go through it in a linear fashion," Hawley says.

The tool also assessed patients' values, taking them through a series of hypothetical scenarios. In the end, each patient had a customized bar graphic that showed how their preferences matched to treatments. For example, if they valued keeping their natural breast, the lumpectomy bar would be higher. Patients could interact with the figure to learn more.

A similar number of patients from both groups reported making a choice in line with their values. Hawley stresses that assessing a patient's values is key.

"The values clarification is important. If you don't combine the knowledge and the values, you get people making values-based choices that may not be fully informed," Hawley says.

Researchers plan to further refine the timing of when to deliver decision tools and assess patient values.
-end-
Additional authors: Yun Li, Lawrence C. An, Ken Resnicow, Nancy Janz, Michael S. Sabel, Kevin C. Ward, Angela Fagerlin, Monica Morrow, Reshma Jagsi, Timothy P. Hofer, Steven J. Katz

Funding: National Cancer Institute grant P01 CA163223

Disclosure: None

Reference:Journal of Clinical Oncology, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.74.8442, published online Jan. 24, 2018

Resources:

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
http://www.mcancer.org

Michigan Health Lab
http://www.MichiganHealthLab.org

Michigan Medicine Cancer AnswerLine
800-865-1125

For more information, contact:

Nicole Fawcett
734-764-2220
nfawcett@umich.edu

Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Related Treatment Articles:

Cheap water treatment
There's nothing new in treating water by sorption of organic solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE).
Light therapy could replace opioids as main treatment for cancer treatment side effect
A worldwide coalition of researchers and clinicians has agreed that light therapy is among the most effective interventions for the prevention of oral mucositis, painful ulcers in the mouth resulting from cancer therapy.
Minimally invasive uterine fibroid treatment safer and as effective as surgical treatment
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) effectively treats uterine fibroids with fewer post-procedure complications compared to myomectomy, according to new research presented today at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting.
Combining three treatment strategies may significantly improve melanoma treatment
A study by a team led by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator finds evidence that combining three advanced treatment strategies for malignant melanoma -- molecular targeted therapy, immune checkpoint blockade and the use of tumor-targeting viruses -- may markedly improve outcomes.
European Psychiatric Association (EPA) comprehensive review demonstrates that exercise is an effective treatment for major mental health conditions and should form a core part of treatment
Based on compelling evidence from a meta-review of existing research, the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) has issued new guidelines to promote exercise as a key additional treatment for mental health conditions.
More Treatment News and Treatment Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...