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Disentangling breast cancer patients' perceptions and experiences with regard to endocrine therapy: nature and relevance for non-adherence.

Wouters, H., Geffen, E.C.G. van, Baas-Thijssen, M.C., Krol-Warmerdam, E.M., Stiggelbout, A.M., Belitser, S., Bouvy, M.L., Dijk, L. van. Disentangling breast cancer patients' perceptions and experiences with regard to endocrine therapy: nature and relevance for non-adherence. The Breast: 2013, 22(5), 661-666
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Background & study aims: Adjuvant endocrine therapy effectively prevents recurrence and progression of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. However, studies reveal substantial non-adherence. The objective was therefore to identify the nature of the experiences and beliefs of women treated with endocrine therapy in an attempt to find potential determinants of non-adherence. Method: Online Focus Groups (OFGs) and individual interviews were conducted with 37 women who were treated with endocrine therapy. Sixty-three statements derived from the OFGs and 11 belief items from the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ) were used in a Q-sorting task conducted with 14 of the women. The quantitative Q-sorting data were statistically analyzed with Hierarchical Cluster Analysis. Results: A six cluster solution was revealed that included the clusters ‘information’, ‘efficacy’, ‘tenacity’, ‘coping’, ‘side effects’ and ‘usage’. Women's own experiences and perceptions were not clearly delineated from the beliefs measured with the BMQ. However, women judged their own experiences and perceptions with regard to endocrine therapy as more relevant for adherence than the BMQ beliefs. Conclusion: In order to understand and to improve women's adherence to endocrine therapy, women's own perceptions and experiences about endocrine therapy should be targeted in addition to common beliefs that apply to a wide range of medicines. (aut.ref.)