Patient-Reported Outcomes following Breast Conservation Therapy and Barriers to Referral for Partial Breast Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the self-reported aesthetic outcome of breast conservation therapy in a generalized sample of patients, and to describe potential barriers to referral for partial breast reconstruction.

Methods:

Consecutive breast conservation therapy patients completing radiotherapy over a 1-year period at a regional cancer center were identified. Eligible patients were contacted by means of mail/e-mail and invited to participate. Participants completed the BREAST-Q breast conservation therapy module along with a questionnaire examining feelings about breast reconstruction. Multiple regression analysis was performed using the satisfaction with breasts scale as the dependent variable.

Results:

Surveys were completed by 185 of 592 eligible participants (response rate, 31.3 percent; mean age, 61 years) an average of 38 months after lumpectomy. The mean score for the BREAST-Q satisfaction with breasts scale was 59 of 100. Younger age (p = 0.038), lumpectomy reexcision (p = 0.018), and lumpectomy at a nonacademic center (p = 0.026) were significantly associated with lower satisfaction. Bra size, months from lumpectomy, and tumor quadrant/size were not significantly associated with satisfaction (p > 0.05). The most common statements regarding reconstruction were “I don’t feel the need for it” (60.0 percent), “I don’t like the thought of having breast implants” (22.7 percent), and “I don’t want any more surgeon/doctor visits” (22.2 percent). Before lumpectomy, only 1.6 percent had a consultation for reconstruction, and only 22.7 percent were aware of this option. If offered, 33.1 percent of patients would have attended this consultation.

Conclusion:

There is an unmet demand for partial breast reconstruction, with an opportunity to advocate and increase awareness on behalf of patients undergoing breast conservation therapy.

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