"i'd Want to Know, because a Year's Not a Long Time to Prepare for a Death": Role of Prognostic Information in Shared Decision Making among Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Academic Article


  • Context: Increasing emphasis on patient-centered care has led to highlighted importance of shared decision making, which better aligns medical decisions with patient care preferences. Effective shared decision making in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) treatment requires prognostic understanding, without which patients may receive treatment inconsistent with personal preferences. Objectives: To assess MBC patient and provider perspectives on the role of prognostic information in treatment decision making. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with MBC patients and community oncologists and separate focus groups involving lay navigators, nurses, and academic oncologists. Qualitative analysis utilized a content analysis approach that included a constant comparative method to generate themes. Results: Of 20 interviewed patients with MBC, 30% were African American. Academic oncologists were mostly women (60%), community oncologists were all Caucasian, and nurses were all women and 28% African American. Lay navigators were all African American and predominately women (86%). Five emergent themes were identified. (1) Most patients wanted prognostic information but differed in when they wanted to have this conversation, (2) Emotional distress and discomfort was a critical reason for not discussing prognosis, (3) Religious beliefs shaped preferences for prognostic information, (4) Health care professionals differed on prognostic information delivery timing, and (5) Providers acknowledged that an individualized approach taking into account patient values and preferences would be beneficial. Conclusion: Most MBC patients wanted prognostic information, yet varied in when they wanted this information. Understanding why patients want limited or unrestricted prognostic information can inform oncologists' efforts toward shared decision making.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Niranjan SJ; Turkman Y; Williams BR; Williams CP; Halilova KI; Smith T; Knight SJ; Bhatia S; Rocque GB
  • Start Page

  • 937
  • End Page

  • 943
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 7