Breast cancer patients' information seeking during surgical consultations: A qualitative, videotape-based analysis of patients' questions. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Despite data on breast cancer patients' information needs and their association with patient outcomes, there are currently no data on what U.S. patients actually ask surgeons during primary consultations. METHODS: Working from transcripts of videotaped, treatment decision making consultations between breast cancer patients and surgeons, we identify all questions (by patients and companions) and then use grounded theory techniques to determine the most recurrent question-asking themes. RESULTS: Sample includes 132 recently diagnosed (M=8.9 days), late-middle-aged (M=61.2 years), female patients with predominantly early stage (0-1; 78%), first-time breast cancer (92.4%) consulting with one of nine surgeons in community based offices. Transcripts contained 2,781 questions (1,929 by patients, 852 by companions; Cohen's Kappa=0.90), which generated 15 patient question asking themes that were represented (i.e., asked about) at least once in >20% of all consultations. CONCLUSION: Question asking themes are a concrete index of what patients want to know more about prior to treatment. Identified themes specify, modify, and extend prior findings based on self-report data. Findings potentially increase surgeons' levels of patient centered care by improving surgeons' abilities to satisfactorily address patients' information needs, which has the potential to improve both patient outcomes and clinical practice guidelines. J. Surg. Oncol. 2016;114:922-929. 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

published proceedings

  • J Surg Oncol

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Robinson, J. D., Venetis, M., Street, R. L., & Kearney, T.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Robinson, Jeffrey D||Venetis, Maria||Street, Richard L||Kearney, Thomas

publication date

  • December 2016