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Large European survey reveals critical gaps in breast cancer patient education and communication

ISTANBUL, Turkey, 30 September 2006 -- Results from a recent survey of European women with early breast cancer, presented for the first time at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress, show that the information needs of patients are not being met and that there is an unacceptably low level of patient involvement in potentially life-extending treatment decisions. The survey revealed that older women, those with a low level of education and those without Internet access are particularly uninformed.

"Our survey shows that information provided to patients about adjuvant endocrine therapy is sub-optimal", says GAEA steering committee member Yvonne Wengstrm, President of the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. "Health professionals are a highly trusted source of information for patients yet the survey has shown that patients were not given comprehensive information about the rationale for treatment and the potential consequences of treatment. Indeed many patients were not even told about the available treatment choices. The patients who took part in the survey told us that they want to have more information about treatment and especially side effects."

The survey, part of The GAEA Initiative, involved 547 post-menopausal women with early breast cancer from nine European countries. It was designed to find out women's knowledge and understanding about adjuvant endocrine (hormone) therapy and their risk of recurrence, their involvement in treatment decision making and their information and support needs. Adjuvant endocrine therapy is given after breast cancer surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence and is usually continued for at least five years. There are different types of therapies available, each of which has a different risk-benefit profile for the patient. Patients need to know the purpose of adjuvant endocrine treatment and the different risk-benefit profiles of eac
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Contact: Matthew Kent
info@gaeainitiative.eu
44-078-998-76685
Tonic Life Communications
30-Sep-2006


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