Background: Discrepancies may exist between what oncologists communicate and what patients understand about their cancer stage and its implications. Objective: We explored patients' ability to identify their stage of breast cancer. Methods: As part of a study testing a cancer self-management intervention we asked women to identify their stage of disease and compared responses to the electronic medical record (EMR) for validation. The sample included women with recently diagnosed nonmetastatic (stage I-III) disease. We calculated descriptive statistics and used logistic regression to examine relationships between knowledge of stage, demographic and clinical variables, and study outcomes. Measurement instruments were the Control Preferences Scale (CPS), Knowledge of Care Options Test (KOCO), Measurement of Transitions Scale (MOT), Medical Communication Competence Scale (MCCS), Chronic Disease Self-Efficacy Scale (CDSE), Uncertainty in Illness Scale (MUIS-C), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Results: Participants (n = 98) had a mean age of 52.3 years (range 27-72). Per the EMR, 19 participants (19.4%) had stage I breast cancer, 56 (57.1%) had stage II, and 23 (23.5%) had stage III. Of the 28 participants (28.6%) unable to identify their stage of cancer correctly, 11 (39.3%) provided vague responses, 11 (39.3%) reported an incorrect stage, and 6 (21.4%) did not know their stage. Younger age (p = 0.0412) and earlier cancer stage (p = 0.0136) were predictive of correctly identifying stage. Participants who at baseline had a greater knowledge of care options (curative, palliative, and hospice care) were more likely to correctly identify their stage (KOCO, p = 0.0345). Conclusions: Clinicians should revisit conversations about cancer stage and care options to ensure patients' understanding and support self-management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine