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Patients’ Breast Radiotherapy Experiences Beat Expectations

Last Updated: February 28, 2018.

Most patients report having little to no knowledge about breast radiotherapy, and patients' experiences are generally better than their expectations, according to a study published online Feb. 26 in Cancer.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients report having little to no knowledge about breast radiotherapy (RT), and patients' experiences are generally better than their expectations, according to a study published online Feb. 26 in Cancer.

Narek Shaverdian, M.D., from the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues surveyed patients who were free of disease recurrence and had been treated between 2012 and 2016 regarding their perceptions of their RT experience. Five hundred two patients were surveyed, and 327 responded; about 83 percent of the patients underwent breast conservation therapy.

The researchers found that about 68 percent of patients endorsed that they initially had little to no knowledge regarding RT; about 47 percent reported having heard frightening stories. Only about 2 percent of patients agreed that the negative stories they had heard about RT were true. Most patients treated with breast conservation (about 92 percent) and mastectomy (81 percent) agreed that "if future patients knew the real truth about RT, they would be less scared about treatment." The overall severity of short-term and long-term effects was reported to be better than or as expected by 83 and 84 percent of patients, respectively.

"Breast RT is associated with misconceptions and fears," the authors write. "Patients' experiences with modern breast RT appear to be superior to expectations, and the majority of patients in the current study agreed that their initial negative impressions were unfounded."

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