New Data From Breast Cancer Survivors Shows Social And Emotional Issues Are Not Adequately Addressed

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) October 11, 2011

New data collected from more than 1,000 breast cancer survivors finds that many experience significant social and emotional issues not adequately addressed by the current standard of care. The research indicates high levels of distress among breast cancer survivors and minimal awareness of tools and programs designed to improve communication between patients and physicians when weighing a patients treatment options. Survey participants also reported that plans intended to improve coordination between multiple care teams were rarely implemented. These findings are outlined in an inaugural Index, released today by the Cancer Support Community (CSC), a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that social and emotional support are critical, integrated components of complete cancer care, through original peer-reviewed research, personalized support and education services.

CSCs Research and Training Institute surveyed 1,043 breast cancer survivors as part of its Breast Cancer M.A.P. (Mind Affects the Physical) Project. The goal was to better understand three key areas of their psychosocial needs: patient-physician communication when making treatment decisions, screening for social and emotional distress and the role of survivorship care plans post-treatment. CSC and its 21-member Advisory Council analyzed the statistically significant data, generating new insights into the social and emotional experiences and needs of breast cancer survivors. The Project was supported by generous grants from The Breast Cancer Fund of National Philanthropic Trust with additional support from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

We have made extraordinary advances in the treatment of breast cancer but its clear from these findings that the full spectrum of care isnt currently being delivered to survivors, said Lidia Schapira, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and M.A.P. Project advisor. We hope this report encourages the cancer community to pursue a renewed focus on providing social and emotional support to people with breast cancer, and improve the standard of care for the growing survivor population.

Highlights from the data include:

Communication Around Treatment Decisions

The majority of patients surveyed felt unprepared for arguably the most important conversation following a breast cancer diagnosisdiscussion of cancer treatment options with their doctor.

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