Professor investigates breast cancer treatment decisions

Kirsten Weber finds patient involvement in decisions yields positive outcomes

| Author: Emily Stulz

Central Michigan University faculty member Kirsten Weber has always been interested in how communication and health experiences intersect.

Her recent study focuses on how the involvement of breast cancer patients in treatment decisions can improve relationships and experiences.

“If patients feel like they are more involved, there are more positive outcomes,” said Weber, a professor in communication and dramatic arts .

“They feel more satisfied in the decisions that they made, they feel more satisfied in the decision-making process, they feel more confident in the decisions that they made, and they have less decision regret,” Weber said. “We also find that people more involved in these decisions are more involved with their caregivers, their communication is better and their relationships are better.”

This research will help health care practitioners better understand how to communicate with patients for long-term results.

“If we can get patients more involved,” Weber said, “they have fewer health concerns later on.”

Weber’s prior research has looked extensively into the relationships between cancer patients and caregivers during treatment. Notably, her 2015 study focused on how different personal relationships shape the treatment decisions breast cancer patients make.

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