Adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer patients: Patients' expectations and physicians' attitudes

Frida Barak*, Lev A. Ostrowsky, Shulamith Kreitler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Findings show that there is a certain degree of refusal on the part of breast cancer patients to undergo adjuvant therapy. Accordingly, the major goals of the study were, first, to learn more about the beliefs of breast cancer patients in regard to adjuvant therapy; second, to find out about the sources of the patients' beliefs; and third, to learn about the attitudes of oncologists concerning the same aspects of adjuvant therapy to which the patients' beliefs referred.Method: The participants were 92 breast cancer patients (mean age 61.2) and 57 doctors of both genders specialized in oncology or affiliated domains. Both groups were administered questionnaires referring to goals of adjuvant treatment, the chances of attaining these goals, side effects, and difficulty of the treatment. Doctors were specifically asked about the views they thought proper to communicate to patients in regard to the mentioned issues. Patients were also asked about whether they had doubts about the treatment and sources of information.Results: The findings showed disparities between the views of patients and doctors in regard to goals, chances of attainment, side effects, and difficulty of treatment. Patients endorsed more goals than doctors and tended to assign to them lower chances of attainment. Doctors were divided in their views about whether to communicate the side effects and difficulties.Significance of results: The results reveal the importance of outlining goals for patients undergoing adjuvant treatment and the disagreements between doctors about what should be communicated to patients, and highlight the complexity of providing to patients information that is both scientifically correct and emotionally helpful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Breast cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Expectations


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