Objective: This study examined rural women's satisfaction with the interaction and communication with their surgeon during diagnosis and treatment planning for early breast cancer. Differences in satisfaction were investigated between treatment groups (mastectomy and breast conservation surgery) and demographic variables (age, marital status, education level, employment status and place of residence). Practice was compared with clinical practice guidelines.
Design: The study was designed as a cross-sectional survey.
Setting: The study was set in Eastern regional Victoria, Australia.
Participants: Seventy women diagnosed with early breast cancer participated in the study.
Main outcome measures: The main outcome measures used by the study were satisfaction in three areas of practice: (i) telling a woman she has breast cancer; (ii) providing information and involving the woman in the decision-making; and (iii) preparing the woman for specific management.
Results: No differences in satisfaction were found between treatment groups and demographic variables. Overall, women in this study were highly satisfied (>93%) with the interaction and communication with their surgeon. Women reported that the surgeon created a supportive environment for discussion, that they were provided with adequate information and referrals, and that they were actively involved in the decision-making. Practice could have been improved for women who were alone at diagnosis as women without a partner made a quicker decision about treatment.
Conclusion: Rural women in Victoria Australia were largely satisfied with the interaction and communication with their surgeon during diagnosis and treatment planning for early breast cancer. Current practice was predominately in line with clinical practice guidelines.