Many Breast Cancer Patient Have Limited Understanding Of Their Own Disease

Rachel A. Freedman MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Department of Medical Oncology Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MassachusettsMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rachel A. Freedman MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Department of Medical Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Freedman: Studies have previously looked at how general cancer knowledge may impact health conditions and rates of screening but none (to my knowledge) have focused on one’s knowledge about his/her own breast cancer. We surveyed 500 women who were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer within the Northern California Cancer Registry and asked questions about their breast cancer subtype (I.e. Hormone receptor status and HER2 status), tumor grade, and stage. We then matched women’s answers to those collected by the registry to examine the correctness of the answers given. We found low overall rates of having knowledge about one’s disease and this was even more apparent for black and Hispanic patients. When education and health literacy were accounted for, disparities in knowledge remains for black women but were narrowed for Hispanic women in some cases.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Freedman: We should be aware that many patients may not fully understand details about their cancer and should work on approaches to improve how we deliver information to patients in a way that is tailored to the patient in front of us.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Freedman: We need to better understand how to best deliver information about cancer and how knowledge about one’s disease may impact rates of treatment adherence and long term outcomes. I plan to study these questions in future work.

Citation:

Rachel A. Freedman, Elena M. Kouri, Dee W. West, Nancy L. Keating. Racial/ethnic disparities in knowledge about one’s breast cancer characteristics. Cancer, 2015; DOI: 10.1002/cncr.28977

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, Rachel A. Freedman MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, & Department of Medical Oncology (2015). Many Breast Cancer Patient Have Limited Understanding Of Their Own Disease http://MedicalResearch.com