Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp 2463–2469

Conflicts in Decision-Making for Breast Cancer Surgery

  • Diane Opatt
  • Monica Morrow
  • Sarah Hawley
  • Kendra Schwartz
  • Nancy K. Janz
  • Steven J. Katz
Article

DOI: 10.1245/s10434-007-9431-7

Cite this article as:
Opatt, D., Morrow, M., Hawley, S. et al. Ann Surg Oncol (2007) 14: 2463. doi:10.1245/s10434-007-9431-7

Abstract

Background

Little is known about the interaction among surgeons, patients, and other physicians in selecting breast cancer surgery.

Methods

We contacted attending surgeons (n = 456) of a population-based sample of 2645 breast cancer patients diagnosed in Detroit and Los Angeles from December 2001 to January 2003. Eighty percent completed a written survey with clinical scenarios.

Results

The mean surgeon age was 50 years, 50% practiced in a community hospital, and breast cancer averaged 31% of practice volume. The mean number of years in practice was 17.2. Female surgeons made up 14.4% of the sample and 35% of the high-volume surgeons. Conflict with patients and other providers was reported by 58% and 32% of surgeons, respectively. When the patient preferred mastectomy and the surgeon favored BCS, conflict was reported by 49.9% of surgeons. Compared with low-volume surgeons, high-volume surgeons were significantly more likely to report conflict in this scenario (44% vs 62%; P = .047). When another provider preferred mastectomy and the respondent surgeon favored BCS, conflict was reported by 34% of surgeons and was more common for high-volume surgeons (P < .001). In a logistic regression model, surgeon volume and practice setting were strongly associated with conflict in this scenario.

Conclusion

High-volume surgeons and those in cancer centers more frequently endorse current clinical guidelines that favor BCS over mastectomy, resulting in greater conflict with patients. These findings support patient reports that patient choice is a key factor in continued mastectomy use.

Keywords

Breast cancerDecision makingBreast conserving surgeryConflict

Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane Opatt
    • 1
  • Monica Morrow
    • 1
  • Sarah Hawley
    • 2
  • Kendra Schwartz
    • 3
  • Nancy K. Janz
    • 4
  • Steven J. Katz
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Surgical OncologyFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family Medicine and Karmanos Cancer InstituteWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Behavior, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Medicine and Health Management and PolicyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA