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Women with breast cancer do not get potentially life-saving information, survey reveals

  • Three-quarters of women were not told their risk of recurrence

  • Older, less educated women or those without Internet access are particularly uninvolved and uninformed

  • New tools, better communication between health care professionals and patients needed to help close this gap

Milan, Italy and Stockholm, Sweden, 24 May 2007 New published data from a large pan-European survey indicate that the majority of postmenopausal women with early breast cancer taking post-surgical endocrine therapy are not involved in making key decisions about their treatment, nor are they given sufficient information to make informed treatment choices that could affect their long-term outcome.

Although 96% of the women surveyed said their health provider was their main source of information, only one-quarter reported being told their risk of breast cancer recurrence, less than half were made aware of treatment options, and nearly one-third did not receive information about possible side effects, according to the results published in The Breast (available online in April; print edition expected in volume 16, 2007). In addition, 2 out of 5 women (41%) reported they were not at all involved in the decision to start adjuvant endocrine therapy.

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.

"The survey results clearly indicate that the information needs of women receiving adjuvant endocrine therapy are not being met. These women told us that they want more information about treatments, especially side effects," said GAEA steering committee member Yvonne Wengstrm, President of the European Oncol
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Contact: Clare Fletcher
info@gaeainitiative.eu
44-020-779-89900
GAEA Initiative
24-May-2007


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