Women's preferences for contralateral prophylactic mastectomy: An investigation using protection motivation theory

S. Tesson, I. Richards, D. Porter, K.A. Phillips, N. Rankin, Toni Musiello, M. Marven, P. Butow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Objective: Most women diagnosed with unilateral breast cancer without BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations are at low risk of contralateral breast cancer. Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy (CPM) decreases the relative risk of contralateral breast cancer, but may not increase life expectancy; yet international uptake is increasing. This study applied protection motivation theory (PMT) to determine factors associated with women's intentions to undergo CPM. Methods: Three hundred eighty-eight women previously diagnosed with unilateral breast cancer and of negative or unknown BRCA1 or BRCA2 status were recruited from an advocacy group's research database. Participants completed measures of PMT constructs based on a common hypothetical CPM decision-making scenario. Results: PMT constructs explained 16% of variance in intentions to undergo CPM. Response efficacy (CPM's advantages) and response costs (CPM's disadvantages) were unique individual predictors of intentions. Conclusion: Decision-making appears driven by considerations of the psychological, cosmetic and emotional advantages and disadvantages of CPM. Overestimations of threat to life from contralateral breast cancer and survival benefit from CPM also appear influential factors. Practice implications: Patients require balanced and medically accurate information regarding the pros and cons of CPM, survival rates, and recurrence risks to ensure realistic and informed decision-making.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)814-822
    Number of pages9
    JournalPatient Education and Counseling
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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