Understanding an illness or disease can raise the likelihood of treating it. Unfortunately, most women with breast cancer do not have enough knowledge about their condition.
According to a study conducted by a team of researchers led by Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor Rachel Freedman, as high as 80% of breast cancer patients are not aware about the details of their cancer status. This was determined through a survey on 500 females who were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Information related to breast cancer — such as the stage of the cancer, its grade and subtype — may prove beneficial to the patients if they knew about them. Survey results showed that 32 to 82 percent of the patients knew information about the tumors growing in them, but the percentage of women who could correctly specify the details of their condition registered as low as 20%.
The research team believes that lack of understanding of a breast cancer patient about her condition may lead her to confusion or uncertainty about the treatments she is receiving. “Improving patients’ understanding about why a particular treatment is important for her individual situation may lead to more informed decisions and better adherence to treatment,” said Freedman in a news release.
Breast cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of fatalities in women at about 3% mortality rate.