Participation in treatment decision-making among Chinese-Australian women with breast cancer

Cannas Kwok, Fung Kuen Koo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Using Confucian philosophy as a conceptual framework, this article examines the extent to which cultural values and language affect the participation preferences and experiences of the breast cancer treatment decision-making (TDM) process among Chinese women with breast cancer in Australia.

Methods: Three focus groups were conducted with 23 Chinese-Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer in their native language (Mandarin and Cantonese). Each interview was translated and transcribed. Content analysis was used to uncover the major themes. 

Findings: Four typologies emerged: the patient as an active decision maker, the patient as a passive decision maker, the patient as a reluctant decision maker and the patient as a reluctant passive decision maker. Language barriers, cultural expectation of doctor’s role and family role in Chinese culture appear as influential factors in TDM process among this group of women. 

Conclusions: Intervention to improve doctors’ cultural sensitivities in order to help them assess women’s role preferences in TDM and the ability of doctors to communicate in a culturally appropriate manner, may improve the process of breast cancer TDM among women from Chinese background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-963
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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