Patient Preferences for Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy
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Deciding whether or not to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy is highly challenging for many patients. This study will examine patients' decisions about reconstruction and the effects of reconstruction on quality of life and body image.
Condition or disease
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is an important treatment option for the many thousands of women who undergo mastectomy each year. Its insurance coverage is mandated by federal law. Many women who want reconstruction, particularly women from racial and ethnic minorities, never receive it, and some women who undergo reconstruction regret having it, raising concern about the quality of decisions about the procedure. Little is known about the quality of breast reconstruction decisions, defined as the extent to which decisions are informed and concordant with patients' preferences. A lack of reliable methods for evaluating preference concordance has resulted in a paucity of research in this area. Deciding about breast reconstruction requires a patient to predict how she would feel after the procedure, a process called affective forecasting. Extensive psychological research has shown that people have difficulty making accurate predictions about how they will feel, tending to overestimate the effects of disease and treatments on their well-being and to underestimate their ability to adapt to change and the effects of other aspects of their lives. Despite the importance of affective forecasting to decisions about breast reconstruction, no research has examined this aspect of those decisions. The investigator proposes to conduct a pilot cohort study of breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomy, with or without reconstruction with the following specific aims: Aim 1: to evaluate whether patients make informed decisions about breast reconstruction that are concordant with their preferences; Aim 2: to assess the accuracy of patients' preoperative predictions about their post-operative body image and well-being; and Aim 3: to assess the effects of breast reconstruction on quality of life and body image and the potential modification of those effects by preference concordance.
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Ages Eligible for Study:
21 Years and older (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:
Adult women undergoing mastectomy at UNC for treatment of Stage I, II, or III breast cancer or DCIS, or for prophylaxis
Women 21 years of age or older
Having a mastectomy at UNC for treatment of Stage I, II, or III breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or for prophylaxis