(HealthDay News) – About 25% of women with breast cancer either never initiate adjuvant endocrine treatment or stop treatment prematurely, according to a study published in the March issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Christopher R. Friese, RN, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed 743 women with breast cancer who were eligible for adjuvant endocrine therapy at nine months and four years after diagnosis. The women were asked if they had initiated therapy, terminated therapy, or were currently receiving therapy in the four-year survey.

The researchers found that 10.8% of women never initiated treatment, 15.1% started treatment but discontinued treatment early, and 74.2% were using treatment at four-years after diagnosis. Black women and Latinas were significantly more likely to initiate treatment than white women (odds ratio [OR], 3.63 and 2.8, respectively). Women who were worried about recurrence were more likely to initiate treatment (OR, 3.54), while women who received inadequate information about side effects were less likely to initiate treatment (OR, 0.24). Women who took two or more medications a week were significantly more likely to continue treatment (OR, 4.19) while older women were significantly less likely to continue treatment (OR, 0.98).

“Enhanced patient education about potential side effects and the effectiveness of adjuvant endocrine therapy in improving outcomes may improve initiation and persistence rates and optimize breast cancer survival,” Friese and colleagues conclude.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)