Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 317–320 | Cite as

Causal Attribution of Breast Cancer by Survivors in French West Indies

  • Philippe Kadhel
  • Caroline Schuster
  • Nathalie Grossat
  • Eustase Janky
  • Ali Ghassani


Patients frequently ask about the cause of their breast cancer. To answer, physicians refer to breast cancer risk factors based on medical reports. We aim to assess these risk factors for the point of view of survivors, a point of view which seems to differ from that of medical references. We ran a survey with open- and closed-ended questionnaires on patients’ opinions about risks factors both for women in general and for their own case. We also collected data on their sources of information on this subject. Most patients had no opinion. The most frequently cited risk factors were stress, then genetic causes, and poor diet. Internet was the leading source of information for patients, followed by physicians and magazines. Our study highlights the mismatch between breast cancer risk factors as perceived by scientists and by survivors. Survivors tend to focus on non-controllable risk factors. Taking into account attribution theories of life events, an awareness of patient opinion may be valuable for psychological support of survivors, and it may be informative to record the way in which patients attribute causality for life events such as breast cancer and, more generally, all type of cancer.


Breast cancer Causal attribution Cancer risk factors Health information sources 



The authors thank Dr. Laurent Benoit for his help with collecting data.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

This study was supported financially by Roche France®. This company did not have any role in the design, analysis, or interpretation of this study or in writing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Kadhel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Caroline Schuster
    • 3
  • Nathalie Grossat
    • 4
  • Eustase Janky
    • 1
  • Ali Ghassani
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre Hospitalier et Universitaire de Pointe-à-Pitre/Abymes, Pôle Parent-Enfant, Service de Gynécologie et ObstétriquePointe-à-Pitre cedexFrance
  2. 2.Institut national de la santé et de la Recherche médicale (Inserm) U1085 – IRSETUniversité des Antilles et de la GuyanePointe-à-PitreFrance
  3. 3.Service d’oncologie et équipe mobile de soins palliatifs. Centre Hospitalier de Basse-TerreBasse-TerreFrance
  4. 4.Service d’oncologie et de radiothérapie. Hôpital Albert ClaracFort de FranceFrance

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