Decisions regarding the use of adjuvant cytotoxic and hormonal therapies for women with breast cancer ideally should be made jointly by the patient and oncologist. For patients to be adequately involved in this decision-making process, they must be provided with appropriate education regarding the potential benefits and risks of adjuvant therapies. The recommended steps for doing this are: 1) understand baseline prognosis with locoregional therapy (surgery, radiation, or both) alone for the individual patient at hand; 2) determine the estimated benefit afforded by adjuvant therapy options for the individual patient; 3) estimate the risk of side effects of adjuvant therapy options; 4) convey the above information to the individual patient; 5) facilitate the individual patient's decision regarding adjuvant systemic therapy; and 6) support the patient's decision. Two computer-based tools (Numeracy and Adjuvant!) are available to facilitate this process.
Peter M. Ravdin has ownership interests and holds copyright for the program Adjuvant!; the program has been distributed without cost to health care professionals. Charles L. Loprinzi is employed by the Mayo Clinic, which maintains the web site for the patient access version of Numeracy. However, he has no financial interest in the program.