• consumer participation;
  • patient care team;
  • decision-making;
  • patient-centered care;
  • patient care management;
  • multidisciplinary communication;
  • breast neoplasms;
  • multidisciplinary care



The aim was to obtain the views of health professionals and patients about the concept of involving breast cancer patients in the multidisciplinary (MD) treatment planning meeting.


Breast cancer surgeons, nurses, oncologists, and patient advocates completed a mailed questionnaire.


The majority of breast cancer health professionals and patient advocates support shared decision-making (58%–62%). However, less than a third of surgeons (32%), medical (25%), and radiation oncologists (24%) were supportive of involving women in the MD treatment planning meeting. In contrast, 93% of breast cancer advocates and 73% of breast cancer nurses were supportive of this approach. Patient advocates were significantly more in favor than all other groups (χ2 = 148.8, df = 4, P < .001). The common reasons for supporting patient involvement included that it would lead to patients being more informed and empowered, provide them with an opportunity to ask questions, facilitate decision-making, and improve communication between the patient and the medical team. Health professionals stated that attendance would make patients anxious and that they would have to modify their medical language. Suggestions about how to manage patient involvement included the patient being supported by a breast nurse and pre-education before the meeting. Patient advocates were significantly more willing to participate in a randomized controlled trial of this process compared with all other groups. (χ2 = 155.15, df = 4, P < .001).


Despite health professional's reservations, patient advocates were highly supportive of including women in the MD meeting. Such a high demand justifies consideration of this option. Cancer 2007. © 2007 American Cancer Society.