Providing complete information about breast cancer treatment options often ends up overwhelming patients

March 08, 2016

Zikmund-Fisher says the findings send a clear message about physician-patient communication.

"What that tells me is that it doesn't take very much information to be too much, especially with patients who have trouble with numbers," he said. "When we try to provide patients with full and complete information, we often end up overwhelming them."

Even women who are good with numbers benefit from having information presented piece-by-piece because they can better understand how much benefit comes from each treatment option, Zikmund-Fisher says.

He says that parceling out information to make decision-making simpler doesn't necessarily mean more work for doctors or longer visits.

"I believe that having patients make decisions one at a time might make doctors' visits shorter rather than longer," Zikmund-Fisher said. "When you make things simpler, you don't have to explain it again and again."

Source: University of Michigan