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Supplementary Material for: Factors Impacting on Decision-Making towards Prophylactic Surgeries in BRCA Mutation Carriers and Women with Familial Predisposition

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posted on 01.10.2019, 08:22 by Segerer R., Peschel C., Kämmerer U., Häussler S., Wöckel A., Segerer S.
Background/Objectives: BRCA mutation carriers and women at high risk of breast/ovarian cancer are faced with the intricate question to opt for prophylactic surgeries and/or a periodic screening. The aim of this study was therefore to identify objective and emotional factors that have an impact on the decision-making process. Methods: Ninety-five women with BRCA mutations or women at increased breast/ovarian cancer lifetime risk were counseled at our outpatient department and either opted for prophylactic surgery or periodic screening. To identify the psychological factors that could have influenced the decision-making, a standardized questionnaire was applied. Additionally, clinical data were collected and were reviewed by a personal talk. Results: Seventy-one of the patients opted for an increased surveillance only, 21 for prophylactic surgeries. Positive predictors for prophylactic surgeries were sociodemographic characteristics such as parity and objective variables such as verified mutation status. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that the need for safety in health issues has been the only significant psychological predictor of surgery beyond the objective factors. Fear of surgical procedures, menopausal symptoms after surgery, loss of attractiveness, or fear of interferences with sexual life did not significantly affect decision-making. Conclusion: Decision-making towards prophylactic surgeries is influenced by objective but also emotional factors. Knowing that fear and anxiety also have an important impact on decision-making, distinct counselling about the procedures, the subsequent risk reduction as well as the psychological effects of prophylactic surgeries are essential.