What Do Patients, Doctors, and Nurses Consider Most Important in Breast Cancer Education?

A recent study observed common themes regarding what patents, doctors, and nurses believe is crucial for patient education interventions in breast cancer. The findings will be highlighted at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Patient education is critical to cancer care, but many different beliefs exist on its benefits and drawbacks, making it difficult to reach a consistent conclusion: “There is a lack of consensus on the intended effects of educational interventions and a lack of standardized outcome measures to assess quality,” the study authors explained. “As a result, multiple outcome measures are used without consistency and in differing combinations in the literature, making it difficult to compare relative efficacy of interventions.”

This was a generic qualitative study undertaken to determine what key stakeholders believe are the most important outcomes when it comes to patient cancer education. The study took place at the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, and included patients with breast cancer, as well as physicians and nurses caring for these patients. All participants were included in four focus groups and one semi-structured interview.

Final analysis included eight patients, five nurses, and four physicians. Across all groups, the following five themes were identified in terms of important outcomes of patient education: improving knowledge, improving coping ability, providing an orientation to the cancer system, enabling shared decision-making, and impacting behavior during cancer treatment.

The researchers concluded that despite the significant variances in the patient education literature, the overall consensus among this group of key stakeholders is that they generally agree on what outcomes are of the most significance in patient cancer education.