Feasibility of Providing Web-Based Information to Breast Cancer Patients Prior to a Surgical Consult

  • Jordan G. Bruce
  • Jennifer L. Tucholka
  • Nicole M. Steffens
  • Jane E. Mahoney
  • Heather B. Neuman


Patients facing decisions for breast cancer surgery commonly search the internet. Directing patients to high-quality websites prior to the surgeon consultation may be one way of supporting patients’ informational needs. The objective was to test an approach for delivering web-based information to breast cancer patients. The implementation strategy was developed using the Replicating Effective Programs framework. Pilot testing measured the proportion that accepted the web-based information. A pre-consultation survey assessed whether the information was reviewed and the acceptability to stakeholders. Reasons for declining guided refinement to the implementation package. Eighty-two percent (309/377) accepted the web-based information. Of the 309 that accepted, 244 completed the pre-consultation survey. Participants were a median 59 years, white (98%), and highly educated (>50% with a college degree). Most patients who completed the questionnaire reported reviewing the website (85%), and nearly all found it helpful. Surgeons thought implementation increased visit efficiency (5/6) and would result in patients making more informed decisions (6/6). The most common reasons patients declined information were limited internet comfort or access (n = 36), emotional distress (n = 14), and preference to receive information directly from the surgeon (n = 7). Routine delivery of web-based information to breast cancer patients prior to the surgeon consultation is feasible. High stakeholder acceptability combined with the low implementation burden means that these findings have immediate relevance for improving care quality.


Implementation Decision support Breast cancer surgery Web-based information Internet 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Eligible patients were then offered the study by the nursing staff or breast cancer navigator either at the time of diagnosis or when their appointment in the surgery clinic was made, and oral consent was obtained. The study protocol was approved by the UW Human Subjects Committee and all participants gave informed consent.

Financial Support

The project was funded by the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Scholar Program (NIH K12 HD055894). The funding source had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. It was also supported in part by the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center through NIH/NCI P30 CA014520- UW Comprehensive Cancer Center Support and the Mentored Training for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Cancer fellowship (R25CA171994).


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan G. Bruce
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Tucholka
    • 2
  • Nicole M. Steffens
    • 3
  • Jane E. Mahoney
    • 4
  • Heather B. Neuman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Denver Public HealthDenver Health and Hospital AuthorityDenverUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Section of Geriatrics, School of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of Wisconsin MadisonMadisonUSA
  5. 5.Carbone Cancer CenterUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  6. 6.MadisonUSA

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