Many Women With Breast Cancer Have Poor Understanding of Their Condition

Many Women With Breast Cancer Have Poor Understanding of Their Condition
breast cancerA recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, found that many women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis have a lack of understanding about their condition, with ethnicity strongly accounting for differences in this knowledge. These findings highlight the need to inform these women about their cancer features. The team of researchers led by Rachel Freedman, MD, surveyed a total of 500 women to understand their degree of knowledge concerning tumor characteristics, whether racial/ethnic disparities in knowledge exist, and if education and health literacy influence associations. The assessement involved questions about these women's cancer characteristics such as tumor stage, grade, and cancer subtype. Results revealed that in the overall sample, 32% to 82% of women reported knowing each of the 4 tumor characteristics of interest, and 20% to 58% correctly reported them. When examining ethnic differences, the researchers found that African American and hispanic women were less likely than caucasian women to determine their cancers’ stage, ER status, and HER2 status. Furthermore, level of education and health literacy were associated with better knowledge about cancer characteristics, however, the ethnical trend remained. Altogether, the research team concluded that patient's knowledge about their own breast cancer was generally poor, particularly in women from a minority background. The results provide
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