Breast Cancer: Sharing the Decision

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Of all cancers, probably breast cancer is one of the most emotive. Increasingly patients with breast cancer are participating in the surgical and/or medical decision about their treatment. This involvement raises ethical issues about the rights of patients and their ability to give an informed consent, concerns about the process of communication betwen the medical staff and the patient, and also issues about the psychology of not only the woman with breast cancer, but also the doctor. This book addresses these issues relating to shared decision making and in particular those areas where a choice of treatment option involves some degree of risk/benefit analysis. It covers the ethical principles and then looks at the evidence that women who wish to participate and who are fully informed and who have taken part in the decision making process regarding their treatment, and who have a positive attitude towards their illness, tend to do better in the long run. Appropriate experts have contributed sections on the different treatment options to provide a brief overview of the treatments available and highlight the issues that should be considered by the woman and the doctor in the decision making process. There is also a section on the patients perspective and vignettes throughout to illustrate dilemmas the paitent faces and the importance of communication. Written for the surgical, medical and clinical oncologists who deal with breast cancer patients and senior nurses in breast cancer units, this book will also be of interest to trainees practising oncologists, and the women themselves who are interested in the shared decision making process in oncology generally.