Minority Partners Might Need More Support in Breast Cancer Decisions

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MINNEAPOLIS — Nurses should pay attention to making sure that racial and ethnic minority partners should receive decision support to make sure they are sufficiently involved in decision making about breast cancer treatment, according to a new study led by Minneapolis VAMC researchers.

The study concluded that partners were generally positive regarding their perspectives about participating in the breast cancer treatment decision-making process, but that less acculturated Hispanic partners were most vulnerable to decision regret.

The study, which was published recently in Oncology Nursing Forum, sought to characterize the perspectives of partners — whether husbands or significant others — of breast cancer patients in the treatment decision-making process and to evaluate racial and ethnic differences in outcomes.

A self-administered mailed questionnaire was employed in Los Angeles and Detroit with participation from 517 partners of breast cancer patients four years post-treatment.

Variables were determined to be decision regret and three elements of the decision process: information received, actual involvement and desired involvement.

The authors reported that most partners reported receiving sufficient information (77%), being involved in treatment decisions (74%) and having sufficient involvement (73%).

Less-acculturated Hispanic partners were more likely than their Caucasian counterparts to report high decision regret (45% versus 14%, p < 0.001).

The study noted that factors significantly associated (p < 0.05) with high decision regret were insufficient receipt of treatment information, low involvement in decision-making, and a desire for more involvement.

1Lillie SE, Janz NK, Friese CR, Graff JJ, Schwartz K, Hamilton AS, Gay BB, Katz SJ, Hawley ST. Racial and ethnic variation in partner perspectives about the breast cancer treatment decision-making experience. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2014 Jan 1;41(1):13-20. doi: 10.1188/14.ONF.13-20. PubMed PMID: 24368235.

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