Your Breast Cancer Surgery program joins patient education resources

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Patient Education Committee, Division of Education has created a new Your Breast Cancer Surgery patient education program. The program joins the successful Your Lung Operation in the expanding cancer education series. It includes a booklet, video, checklist, Discharge Treatment and Survivorship Plan, and evaluation tool to support the surgical community (including patients and caregivers) with evidence-based education and skills to optimize recovery. A literature review on informed consent and breast cancer surgery found that only 47 percent of lumpectomy and 67 percent of mastectomy patients felt fully informed and patients felt an urgency to plan.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and the second leading cause of female death, and the treatment for early breast cancer is most often surgery. With recent advances in breast cancer care, there is a need to help patients better understand their treatment decisions and survival benefits from a complex menu of choices. While numerous resources are available on the internet, patients trust education provided by their professionals and associations. In addition, a requirement of the Affordable Care Act and electronic health records (EHR) is that all materials should be Info Button-enabled and ready to print or be emailed to the patient and placed in their EHR at the point of care.

This program was developed with input from the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the Commission on Cancer, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the American Physical Therapy Association. All materials meet the guidelines for health literacy, informed consent (ACS), surgical safety (Joint Commission), and National Accreditation for Breast Center. The ACS recognizes that safety is enhanced when patients/families can anticipate what is likely to happen and have the knowledge and skills needed for decision-making and full participation in care during hospitalization and their recovery. Allowing patients to review disease and procedure information in a multi-media format in advance of meeting with a surgeon supports effective communication and is associated with greater participation, increased satisfaction, and higher rates of compliance.

Your Breast Cancer Surgery explains the breast anatomy, breast cancer diagnosis and staging, the types of surgical procedures, preoperative tests and imaging, what to expect before, during, and after the surgery and reconstruction, and additional therapies. Preoperative and postoperative guides, images, and video instructions are provided for all exercises, wound and drain care, and lymphedema prevention. The program will be available in late October on the Patient Education website.