Shared decision making with breast cancer patients – does it work? Results of the cluster-randomized, multicenter DBCG RT SDM trial

Stine Rauff Søndergaard*, Troels Bechmann, Else Maae, Anders W. Mølby Nielsen, Mette Holck Nielsen, Mette Møller, Signe Timm, Ebbe Laugaard Lorenzen, Leonard L. Berry, Robert Zachariae, Birgitte Vrou Offersen, Karina Dahl Steffensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background and purpose: Shared decision making (SDM) is a patient engaging process advocated especially for preference-sensitive decisions, such as adjuvant treatment after breast cancer. An increasing call for patient engagement in decision making highlights the need for a systematic SDM approach. The objective of this trial was to investigate whether the Decision Helper (DH), an in-consultation patient decision aid, increases patient engagement in decisions regarding adjuvant whole breast irradiation. Material and methods: Oncologists at four radiotherapy units were randomized to practice SDM using the DH versus usual practice. Patient candidates for adjuvant whole breast irradiation after breast conserving surgery for node-negative breast cancer were eligible. The primary endpoint was patient-reported engagement in the decision process assessed with the Shared Decision Making Questionnaire (SDM-Q-9) (range 0–100, 4 points difference considered clinical relevant). Other endpoints included oncologist-reported patient engagement, decisional conflict, fear of cancer recurrence, and decision regret after 6 months. Results: Of the 674 included patients, 635 (94.2%) completed the SDM-Q-9. Patients in the intervention group reported higher level of engagement (median 80; IQR 68.9 to 94.4) than the control group (71.1; IQR 55.6 to 82.2; p < 0.0001). Oncologist-reported patient engagement was higher in the invention group (93.3; IQR 82.2 to 100) compared to control group (73.3; IQR 60.0 to 84.4) (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: Patient engagement in medical decision making was significantly improved with the use of an in-consultation patient decision aid compared to standard. The DH on adjuvant whole breast irradiation is now recommended as standard of care in the Danish guideline.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110115
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

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© 2024 The Author(s)


  • Aminoacridines
  • Breast Neoplasms/surgery
  • Decision Making
  • Decision Making, Shared
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Patient Participation


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