By Jean Balchin 05/04/2018

A new study published in Psycho-Oncology has revealed that a free web-based decision aid that helps women with breast cancer make decisions regarding reconstruction surgery after mastectomy is likely cost-effective.

BRECONDA (Breast Reconstruction Decision Aid) is a tool that helps people make decisions about breast reconstruction surgery. It was developed in collaboration with an international team of breast surgeons, oncologists, and researchers.

According to the website, “BRECONDA has been created to help you decide, along with your surgeon, which option you prefer after mastectomy – whether or not to have a reconstruction, and if so, what type of reconstruction will best suit you.”

The Australian study included 106 who accessed BRECONDA for six months and received usual care and 116 women who received usual care only. Use of the online app resulted in significantly less decisional conflict and greater satisfaction with information over time. Quality adjusted life years did not differ between participants who received the decision aid compared with usual care.

The cost of BRECONDA was estimated to be small (10 Australian dollars) relative to other healthcare interventions. Moreover, it resulted in decreased healthcare costs overall (764 Australian dollars).

“BRECONDA provides women considering breast reconstruction with much needed support in this important decision making. This public resource gives comprehensive and reliable information and helps women navigate the maze of breast reconstruction options,” said co-author Professor Kerry Sherman, of Macquarie University.

According to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Association, Breast cancer is the most common cancer among New Zealand women with more than 2600 new cases expected this year. Men can get breast cancer too, and it is estimated that approximately 20 men will be diagnosed with it this year. More than 650 women will die from the disease this year – making it the leading cause of cancer -related death in females.

New Zealand women have a one in nine chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, and 90-95% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Getting older is the most common risk factor: over 75% of new cases are among women 50 years and over. You can learn more about breast cancer here at the New Zealand Breast Cancer Association.