Introduction: Despite potential advantages, application of chemotherapy in the neo-adjuvant (NAC) instead of adjuvant (AC) setting for breast cancer (BC) patients varies among hospitals. The aim of this study was to gain insight in patients' experiences with decisions on the timing of chemotherapy for stage II and III BC.
Materials and methods: A 35-item online questionnaire was distributed among female patients (age>18) treated with either NAC or AC for clinical stage II/III invasive BC in 2013–2014 in the Netherlands. Outcome measures were the experienced exchange of information on the possible choice between both options and patients' involvement in the final decision on chemotherapy timing. Chemotherapy treatment experience was measured with the Cancer Therapy Satisfaction Questionnaire (CTSQ).
Results: Of 805 invited patients, 49% responded (179 NAC, 215 AC). NAC-treated patients were younger and more often treated in teaching/academic hospitals and high-volume hospitals. Information on the possibility of NAC was given to a minority of AC-treated patients (AC, stage II:14%, stage III: 31%). Information on pros and cons of both NAC and AC was rated sufficient in about three fourth of respondents. Respondents not always felt having a choice in the timing of chemotherapy (stage II: 54% NAC vs 36% AC; stage III: 26% NAC, 54% AC).
Conclusion: The need to make a treatment decision on NAC was found to be made explicit in only a small number of adjuvant treated patients, in particular in BC stage II. Less than half of the respondents felt they had a real choice.
- Breast cancer
- Shared decision-making