Background: Previous research suggests that providing information to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, during the gap between cancer diagnosis and their first surgeon consultation, may support decision making. Our objective was to compare patients’ knowledge after the pre-consultation delivery of standard websites vs a web-based decision aid (DA). Study Design: We randomized women with stage 0 to III breast cancer, within an academic and community breast clinic, to be emailed a link to selected standard websites (National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Breastcancer.org,) vs the Health Dialog DA (Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03116035). Patients seeking second opinions, diagnosed by excisional biopsy, or without an email address, were ineligible. Pre-consultation knowledge was assessed using the Breast Cancer Surgery Decision Quality Instrument. We compared differences in knowledge using t-test. Results: Median patient age was 59 years, 99% were white, and 65% had a college degree or higher, with no differences in demographics between study arms. Knowledge was higher in patients who received the DA (median 80% vs 66% correct, p = 0.01). Decision-aid patients were more likely to know that waiting a few weeks to make a treatment decision would not affect survival (72% vs 54%, p < 0.01). Patients in both arms found the information helpful (median score 8 of 10). Conclusions: Although patients found receipt of any pre-consultation information helpful, the DA resulted in improved knowledge over standard websites and effectively conveyed that there is time to make a breast cancer surgery decision. Decreasing the urgency patients feel may improve the quality of patient-surgeon interactions and lead to more informed decision-making.
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