Patient participation in deciding breast cancer treatment and subsequent quality of life. Academic Article uri icon


  • This investigation of patients with early breast cancer examined relationships among patient involvement in deciding treatment (i.e., whether to undergo breast removal or breast conservation), perceptions of control over treatment decisions, and subsequent health-related quality of life. It was predicted 1) that patients who more actively participated in consultations to decide treatment would perceive more decision control than would more passive patients and 2) that patients who perceived greater decision control would report better health-related quality of life following treatment than would patients perceiving less decision control. Sixty patients with stage I or II breast cancer allowed their consultations with surgeons to be audiorecorded. Following these visits, patients reported on their involvement in the consultation, optimism for the future, knowledge about treatment, and two aspects of perceived decision control, the perception of having a choice for treatment and the extent to which the doctor or patient was responsible for the decision. Six and 12 months postoperatively, 51 patients (85%) returned a follow-up survey assessing perceived decision control and health-related quality of life. The first prediction received some support. The patients who had more actively participated in their consultations, particularly in terms of offering opinions, assumed more responsibility for treatment decisions during the year following surgery than did less expressive patients. Also, the patients who reported more involvement in their consultations later believed they had had more of a choice for treatment. The second hypothesis was partially supported. Six and 12 months following treatment, the patients who believed they were more responsible for treatment decisions and believed they had more choice of treatment reported higher levels of quality of life than did the patients who perceived themselves to have less decision control. However, perceived control at the time of treatment did not predict later quality of life. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Med Decis Making

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Street, R. L., & Voigt, B.

citation count

  • 228

complete list of authors

  • Street, RL||Voigt, B

publication date

  • July 1997