Factors that Affect Patients' Decision-Making about Mastectomy or Breast Conserving Surgery, and the Psychological Effect of this Choice on Breast Cancer Patients

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BREAST CARE, vol.5, no.3, pp.164-168, 2010 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 5 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1159/000314266
  • Title of Journal : BREAST CARE
  • Page Numbers: pp.164-168


Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Primary treatment is surgery, with breast conserving surgery (BCS) being widely used for early-stage disease. Due to changes in body image, depressive symptoms can occur after surgery. Here, we evaluate factors that affect patients' decision on surgery, and investigate differences in the level of depression after mastectomy or BCS in a population of Turkish patients. Patients and Methods: One hundred breast cancer patients who had undergone mastectomy or BCS and were followed up at our institution between 2007 and 2008 were included. Patients were questioned about their involvement in surgical decision-making. Depression was diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) criteria via a Structural Clinical Interview for DSM (SCID). Severity of depression was evaluated by using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Results: Patients who were older than 50 years, had more than 1 child, a history of lactation, and a positive family history of breast cancer mostly preferred mastectomy. However, patients who sought a second opinion and further information on BCS preferred BCS (p < 0.005). There was no statistical correlation between marital status, first childbearing age, and educational status and the decision on surgery type (p > 0.005). Mastectomy patients were prone to depression, but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.099). Conclusion: Age, parenthood, lactation, and positive familial history, as well as thorough information about the type of surgery were important factors for the patients' decision. After breast cancer surgery, patients might experience depression affecting treatment and quality of life. Therefore, adequate information and communication are essential.