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Many women who have received positive lab test results for breast cancer are not included by their physicians in decisions about treating their condition and part of the reason may have to do with low levels of disease knowledge, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
The findings have major implications for how breast cancer is treated. Various treatment options carry different risks and benefits, which should be weighed carefully by each patient. However, the new findings suggest that many individuals are never given the opportunity to assess the pros and cons of these different therapies.
As part of the study, researchers surveyed a group of women who had recently been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer to determine the extent of their knowledge relating to the condition. As a whole, participants correctly answered just 52.7 percent of the questions.
Next, the team asked how involved the women had been in determining the course of their treatment. Only 48 percent said they had even been asked about their surgical preferences by their physician.
The researchers said their findings show that doctors need to do more to engage patients in the decision-making process.
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