Press conference moderator Virginia Kaklamani, MD, of UT Health San Antonio, and Leader of the Breast Cancer Program, UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, weighed in on this study.
“This study compared patients’ reports with physicians’ reports about the severity of symptoms. It is a large study, and it is relatively surprising to me that there was underrecognition in about 30% of cases. It is also surprising that young women and racial minorities more likely to experience underrecognition of substantial symptoms following radiation therapy,” Dr. Kaklamani said.
“This study underlines that we need to do a better job at assessing our patients’ symptoms. We need to include patient-reported outcomes in clinical trials and listen to our patients,” she said. Dr. Kaklamani asked Dr. Jagsi what else physicians can do to help.
Virginia Kaklamani, MD
Dr. Jagsi said: “The key is to improve physician-patient communication. We [in the Michigan initiative] need to dig deeply to understand why so many of us were unaware of our patients’ symptoms. We can generalize these findings to other physicians. The discordance may be related to the spectrum of potential interventions and our own unconscious biases…. We want to encourage trust, and our patients have expectations. We need to support our patients.”
Dr. Kaklamani suggested it would be important to do further research on how gender, race, and ethnicity contribute to underrecognition of symptoms.
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Kaklamani has received honoraria from Celgene, Eisai, Genentech, Genomic Health, Novartis, Pfizer, and Puma Biotechnology; has served as a consultant or advisor to Amgen, AstraZeneca, Athenex, Celldex, Eisai, and Puma Biotechnology; has participated in a speakers bureau for Celgene, Eisai, Genentech, Genomic Health, Novartis, Pfizer, and Puma Biotechnology; and has received research funding from Eisai.
Physicians may commonly underrecognize radiation-associated symptoms and their severity compared with self-reports of patients with breast cancer, according to a large study comparing patient-reported outcomes with physician assessments of four common radiation-associated symptoms: pain, pruritus, ...