Measuring Breast Cancer Patients' Opinion About Radiotherapy with Visual Analog Scale and the Effect of Informative Interview
1Department of Radiation Oncology, Iskenderun Gelisim Hospital, Hatay-Turkey DOI : 10.5505/tjo.2021.3439 OBJECTIVE
The objective of the study was to assess breast cancer (BC) patients" opinion about radiotherapy (RT) with visual analog scale (VAS) and investigate the effect of informative interview by a trained RT technician (RTT).

Eighty-one female BC patients treated with curative intent were included in the study. To represent both negative and positive views, VAS was modified and visually enhanced. Patients marked their opinion after initial consultation, after informative interview by an RTT, and finally after the completion of RT. We also asked which treatment modality was the easiest and hardest in their experience. Toxicities were reported according to RTOG CTCAE v4.0. VAS score was measured from 0, where minus axis denotes positive and plus denotes negative opinion. Difference between recordings was measured with paired t-test.

On the first recording, average opinion was -6.5 mm on VAS. The second recording of -29.4 mm and final recording of -41.1 mm showed positive change. Difference between measurements was significant (p<0.001). About 78.9% thought chemotherapy, whereas 9.9% thought that RT was the hardest. RT was easiest for 74.6% followed by surgery for 9.5%.

RT is the most elusive treatment modality for patients and non-oncology health professionals. Even though anxiety in BC patients is evaluated extensively, few studies focus on their concerns about RT. Misinformation from unauthorized resources can impair treatment compliance. We demonstrated that informative interview improves all patients" look and alleviates fears about RT, whether they present anxiety or not. RTTs role should extend into pre-treatment communication with patients to detect anxiety, address any existing fears, and provide reliable information. Keywords : Anxiety, breast cancer, patient counsel, radiotherapy, visual analog scale