Generic preference-based measures (PBM), though commonly used, may not be optimal for use in economic evaluations of breast cancer interventions. No breast cancer-specific PBM currently exists, and the generic PBMs fail to capture the unique concerns of women with breast cancer (e.g., body image, appearance, treatment-specific adverse effects). Hence, the objective of this study was to develop a breast cancer-specific PBM, the BREAST-Q Utility module.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer (stage 0–4, any treatment) were recruited from two tertiary hospitals in Canada and one in the US. The study followed an exploratory sequential mixed methods approach, whereby semi-structured interviews were conducted and at the end of the interview, participants were asked to list their top five health-related quality of life (HRQOL) concerns and to rate the importance of each item on the BREAST-Q. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded. Constant comparison was used to refine the codes and develop a conceptual framework. Qualitative and quantitative data were triangulated to develop the content of the Utility module that was refined through 2 rounds of cognitive debriefing interviews with women diagnosed with breast cancer and feedback from experts.
Interviews were conducted with 57 women aged 55 ± 10 years. A conceptual framework was developed from 3948 unique codes specific to breasts, arms, abdomen, and cancer experience. Five top-level domains were HRQOL (i.e., physical, psychological, social, and sexual well-being) and appearance. Data from the interviews, top 5 HRQOL concerns, and BREAST-Q item ratings were used to inform dimensions for inclusion in the Utility module. Feedback from women with breast cancer (N = 9) and a multidisciplinary group of experts (N = 27) was used to refine the module. The field-test version of the HSCS consists of 10 unique dimensions. Each dimension is measured with 1 or 2 candidate items that have 4–5 response levels each.
The field-test version of the BREAST-Q Utility module was derived from extensive patient and expert input. This comprehensive approach ensured that the content of the Utility module is relevant, comprehensive, and includes concerns that matter the most to women with breast cancer.