What Influences Initial Treatment Decisions?

There is a research study being conducted out of Stanford University in California looking at factors affecting breast cancer treatment decisions. Read more about the study and please spread the word to anyone you think may be interested.


We need women living in (or willing to travel to) the San Francisco Bay Area who were diagnosed within the last 12 months with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or stage I-III breast cancer to participate in a study on factors affecting breast cancer treatment decisions.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer face many treatment decisions about how to treat the affected breast and whether they should remove the unaffected one. A research team at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, wants to learn more about the thoughts and feelings that influence women’s treatment decisions.

Please read further to learn more about what’s involved and who can participate. If you are not interested in participating but know someone who may be, please help us pass it on!

What’s the study about?

The goal of this study is to better understand what women are thinking about and feeling as they decide on their cancer treatments. The results of this study may help researchers develop new interventions that may better assist women newly diagnosed with breast cancer with their treatment decisions.

What’s involved?

Screening for eligibility If you decide to sign up for the Treatment Decision Study, the research team will email you a link to participate in a two-part online screening survey (approximately 60 minutes to complete both parts). Afterwards, they will contact you to review your survey responses to determine your eligibility for study participation.

Procedures After Study Enrollment   If eligible, you will be asked to go to Stanford University in Stanford, California, for 3 baseline study visits that will take a total of approximately 8 hours (for participants traveling from farther away, the 3 visits may be combined into 1 or 2 visits). After completion of the baseline study visits, there will be 3 online/at-home follow-ups that are six months apart from each other and will take about 1 to 2 hours to complete each.

  • Questionnaires Complete a set of online questionnaires at home (at baseline, 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-ups). The questionnaires will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
  • Saliva samples Provide saliva samples (at baseline, 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-ups). The saliva sample collection will be done at your home. At baseline, it will take approximately 1 hour total over the course of 3 days. At the 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-ups, it will take a total of 15 minutes over the course of 1 day.
  • MRI Brain Scan and Related Tasks Participate in various emotion related tasks while undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan of the head at Stanford (at baseline only). fMRI is a non-invasive scan. This test will take about 3.5 hours (1 hour preparation, 2 hours in the scanner, and 30 minutes of debriefing).
  • Behavioral Tasks Complete behavioral tasks at Stanford (at baseline only; approximately 1.5 hours). Each of the behavioral tasks is computerized and involves responding to various graphics, words, and/or letters.
  • Provide 1 tube of blood (at baseline).

The Stanford research team will provide participants with a total of $550 for study completion.  If you are traveling from afar, the team will cover one night of your accommodations.  Participants diagnosed within the last 6 months may also receive compensation for airfare.

Who is conducting the study?

David Spiegel, MD, Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, James Gross, PhD, and Allison Kurian, MD, MSc, Stanford University School of Medicine. The study is funded by the National Cancer Institute.


Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Who can participate?

You can sign up for the Treatment Decision Study screening surveys if you match ALL of the following MAIN categories:

  • You are a woman 18 years of age or older
  • You were diagnosed with one-sided DCIS or Stage I-III breast cancer within 12 months of study enrollment
  • You are proficient enough in English to be able to fill out questionnaires and participate in the required tasks
  • You are a US citizen or resident (eligible to receive payment for participation)
  • You are willing to participate in a fMRI assessment
  • You live near or are willing to travel to the Stanford, California area.

If you are interested in study participation, please click on the link below to enter your contact information on a Stanford University secure site. You will receive their screening survey shortly after completion of the contact form.


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