French national survey on breast cancer care: caregiver and patient views

French national survey on breast cancer care: caregiver and patient views

Rousset-Jablonski C, Lortal B, Lantheaume S, Arnould L, Simon H, Tuszynski AS, Courtier M, Debbah S, Lefrançois M, Balbin S, Kably AS, Toledano A.

Breast Cancer. 2024 Apr 18. doi: 10.1007/s12282-024-01576-4. Online ahead of print.

PMID: 38635135

Purpose: To improve the quality of care for patients with breast cancer, an analysis of the health-care pathway, considering feedback from both health-care practitioners (HCPs) and patients, is needed.

Methods: Between 2020 and 2022, we conducted a survey at French breast cancer centers and analyzed information from questionnaires completed by HCPs and patients. We collected information on center organization, diagnostic processes, treatment decisions and modalities, supportive care, patient advocacy groups, and work issues.

Results: Twenty-three breast cancer centers were included and questionnaires completed by 247 HCPs and 249 patients were analyzed. The centers closely followed the legal French framework for cancer treatments, which includes formal diagnostic announcements, multidisciplinary tumor boards, personalized treatment summaries, and supportive care access. HCPs and patients were satisfied with the time to diagnosis (≤ 2 weeks as evaluated by 75% of patients), time to surgery (mean 61 days), time between surgery and chemotherapy (mean 47 days), and time between surgery and radiotherapy (mean 81 days). Fertility preservation counseling for women under 40 years of age was systematically offered by 67% of the HCPs. The majority (67%) of the patients indicated that they had received a personalized treatment summary; the topics discussed included treatments (92%), tumor characteristics (84%), care pathways (79%), supportive care (52%), and breast reconstruction (33%). Among HCPs, 44% stated that reconstructive surgery was offered to all eligible patients and 57% and 45% indicated coordination between centers and primary care physicians for adverse effects management and access to supportive care should be improved, for chemotherapy and radiotherapy, respectively. Regarding patient advocacy groups, 34% of HCPs did not know whether patients had contact and only 23% of patients declared that they had such contact. For one-third of working patients, work issues were not discussed. Twenty-eight percent of patients claimed that they had faced difficulties for supportive care access. Among HCPs, 13% stated that a formal personalized survivorship treatment program was administered to almost all patients and 37% almost never introduced the program to their patients. Compliance to oral treatments was considered very good for 75-100% of patients by 62% of HCPs.

Conclusions: This study provides an updated analysis of breast cancer care pathways in France. Overall, the initial processes of diagnosis, announcement, and treatment were swift and were in agreement with the best care standards. No barriers to accessing care were identified. Based on the study findings, we proposed several strategies to improve the quality of care for patients in supportive care, coordination with primary care physicians, reconstructive surgery, and fertility preservation access.
Keywords: Breast neoplasms; Cancer survivorship; France; Good clinical practices; Health care; Patient views.

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