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Breast cancer patients may not hear all their options

Category: Breast

Following a positive lab test for breast cancer, many women may not be informed of all their treatment options, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics.

For the study, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan surveyed 318 cancer surgeons and 160 radiation oncologists. The results showed that 30 percent of the radiation oncologists said their biggest professional challenge was that they are not always consulted about developing patients' treatment strategies.

About half of the surgeons surveyed said few or none of their patients consult with a radiation oncologist before undergoing surgery.

The researchers said the findings suggest that many patients may prefer to undergo prompt surgery in order to avoid having to undergo radiation therapy later. However, many patients who are operated on still require radiation. Most patients may not be aware of this.

The team concluded that cancer care teams should make efforts to work more collaboratively to determine the best course of treatment for their patients. Different specialists may have different understandings of how cancer should be treated and each of these views has some value.

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