Francesca Ligori Malcolm, Penny Howard, Anita Maria Klukowska, Nikita Minhas, Ruth Mary Parks, Kwok Leung Cheung

Factors influencing older women's decision‐making related to treatment of operable breast cancer: A qualitative systematic review

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Oncology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

AbstractObjectiveThere is variation in practice in the treatment of older women with breast cancer. International guidelines highlight the importance of patient autonomy in treatment decision‐making. The aim of this study is to identify factors which influence decision‐making in older women with operable breast cancer, which will enable us to further understand how to support these patients.MethodsSystematic review in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines was performed to identify factors which influence treatment decision‐making in older women with operable breast cancer. Medline, Web of Science and SCOPUS were searched.ResultsThe search yielded 5840 results; 13 articles met the inclusion criteria and reported on a total of 1118 women. Thematic analysis identified three key themes in which decision‐making factors could be categorised. These were healthcare‐related factors, patient‐related factors and impact of treatment. Healthcare‐related factors included communication with clinicians and provision of information. Patient‐related factors were age, pre‐existing knowledge, preconceptions of breast cancer and treatment, decision‐making style and co‐morbidities. The impact of treatment considerations included body image and effect on quality of life. Decision‐making style was frequently reported; older women did not demonstrate one preferred style.ConclusionsThe findings have highlighted the complex interplay of factors which influence how older women make breast cancer treatment‐decisions. Clinicians should have an awareness of the factors highlighted to maximise their ability to provide support and personalised care to older women with breast cancer whilst treatment decisions are made.

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