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19.05.2016 | Ausgabe 4/2017

Journal of Cancer Education 4/2017

Barriers to Completing Delayed Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy: a Critical Need for Patient and Clinician Education

Journal of Cancer Education > Ausgabe 4/2017
Aleksandra Ogrodnik, Susan MacLennan, Donald Weaver, Ted James


Rates of breast reconstruction following mastectomy vary widely, and little is known about why women who originally express an interest in breast reconstruction do not receive it. Improved documentation of clinical decision-making is one of the potential benefits of the electronic health record (EHR), and may serve as a tool to enhance patient-centered, clinical outcomes research. The goals of this study were to explore patterns in delayed reconstruction (DR), identify barriers to follow through, and to determine the adequacy of EHR documentation in providing information about decision-making for breast reconstruction. Retrospective EHR review of women undergoing mastectomy, 2008–2012, was conducted in an academic medical center in New England. Data included patient demographics, cancer stage, co-morbidity index, post-mastectomy reconstruction status, and documented decision-making regarding reconstruction. Of 367 women who had undergone a total mastectomy, 219 did not receive immediate reconstruction. Of these, 24.6 % expressed no interest in DR, 21.9 % expressed interest but were still pending the procedure, and 5.9 % had completed DR. Of decision-making regarding breast reconstruction, 47.5 % lacked documentation. Median follow-up was 34 months. Reasons for not following through with DR included poor timing (25 %), indecision (17 %), desired method of reconstruction not available at treating facility (10 %), persistent obesity (8.3 %), continued smoking (4 %), and reason not specified (35 %). Many women do not receive breast reconstruction despite expressing an initial interest in the procedure. Reasons were multi-factorial and the extent of documentation was inconsistent. Further exploration of potential barriers to breast reconstruction as well as opportunities to enhance shared decision-making may serve to improve patient experience and satisfaction following mastectomy.

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