Treatment decision-making in the medical encounter: Comparing the attitudes of French surgeons and their patients in breast cancer care
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OBJECTIVES: To explore attitudes of French surgeons and their patients towards treatment decision-making (TDM) in the medical encounter. METHODS: Surgeons involved in early stage breast cancer and their patients treated in a French cancer care network received a cross-sectional survey questionnaire containing examples of four different approaches to TDM: paternalistic, "some sharing", informed TDM and, shared TDM. RESULTS: Surgeons' interaction styles were clearly distributed among paternalistic, shared and mixed. The paternalistic approach seemed to be associated with private rather than public practice and with less professional experience. Patients reported a rather low level of participation in TDM, varying by socio-demographic characteristics. One third of patients were dissatisfied with the way their treatment decision had been made. CONCLUSION: Most surgeons reported adopting the "some sharing" approach. However, one patient out of three reported that they would have liked to participate more in the TDM process. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Surgeons need to ask patients what their preferences for involvement in TDM are and then think about ways to accommodate both their own and patients' preferences regarding the TDM process to be used in each encounter. In addition, decision aids could be offered to surgeons to help them discuss treatment options with their patients.
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