SIMBA Decision Aid Easing the Anxiety Toll After Breast Cancer
Imagine this: You just went through the emotional and physical hell of breast cancer treatment for months – maybe even longer. You suffered through chemo and lost your hair, changed your schedule and diet, did research, struggled to cope with your emotions and other people’s too, and possibly went into debt.
Like the three million women who survived breast cancer before you, you’re all too familiar with difficult health care choices. In the face of a high risk of recurrence, over the next five years you’re willing to go through a lot to make sure that if the cancer returns, you detect it early. Recently, more women and doctors are adding MRIs to the usual mammography as part of post-treatment monitoring, but should you? Extra tests can be inconvenient, expensive, and create anguish when false detections take time and work to resolve. You may even end up treating something that never would have caused a problem for you. You’re emotionally and physically exhausted and there’s little information available to help you make this decision.
This is the challenge Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) set out to address with their SIMBA study (Surveillance Imaging Modalities for Breast Cancer Assessment). Conducted between 2013 and 2016, the study goals were to conduct the largest-ever analysis of the effectiveness of mammography and breast MRI, then use the data to empower patients to select the right imaging solution. They gathered perspectives of patients and doctors, then began the analysis with 36,000 breast cancer exams. Early in 2016 they approached Artefact to design a decision aid that could help breast cancer patients understand and discuss their monitoring options.