Supporting shared decision making in advanced breast cancer: what matters in an era of personalised care?

Patients face information overload when considering the balance of risks and benefits from the wide variety of treatment options for early and advanced breast cancer. Clinical teams need help to understand what matters most to patients if they are to help them navigate these difficult choices.

The Breast Cancer Institute is funding an 18-month project to investigate preferences for breast cancer treatment. Using the discrete choice experiment (DCE) methodology, this project aims to better understand which side effects are important to individuals when balanced against potential clinical benefits. The project will work with local patients and the clinical team to develop an online survey that seeks to measure the preferences of patients, clinicians and the general public for benefits versus specific risks. The analysis will help understand how such preferences vary between individuals and will unpick the disparity between the perceptions of the clinical team and the reality of patient wishes. The results will be available as a basis for the development of improved shared decision-making processes, patient information or decision aids. The attributes and levels for the DCE will be informed by recent Public and Clinical Engagement (PACE) statements during the assessment of new medicines by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

HERU researchers involved in this research project: Mandy Ryan 

External collaborators: P. Hall (Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh); E. Gray (University of Edinburgh) and S-M. O’Hare (Edinburgh Breast Unit)


Bullen, A., Hall, P., Ryan, M., Gray, E., Ennis, H. and McIntyre, M. (2019) 'Supporting shared decision making in advanced breast cancer: what matters in an era of personalised care?', Scottish Health Economics. Showcasing Health Economics in Scotland: Research of International Excellence That Addresses Policy Priorities in Scotland and Beyond, Discovery Point, Dundee, 3 October 2019.