Breast cancer informed consent legislation was introduced in response to breast cancer patient discontent with doctor-patient relationships. Physicians do not always believe that explaining treatment alternatives is important, and in this respect, legislation promoting the discussion of alternative treatment could be positive for breast cancer patients, many of whom do in fact have several viable medical options. Studies have found, however, that these statutes have no lasting impact on patient decision-making. Why aren't these patient-driven statutes affecting patient decision-making? And why is medical advice coming from the law at all? This Article argues that this legislation is a poor tool for creating positive change in the physician-patient realm of breast cancer treatment. Ideally, informed consent for breast cancer patients would be an individualistic process. It would be shaped by the specific context of the patient's life, as well as the gender inequities that still pervade medicine. The right kind of laws would see a "good" decision as one in which the patient is left physically and emotionally satisfied. To the contrary, these statutes imply that what women need is more naked information on treatment options, an idea divorced from what is known about patient decision-making.
The Failure of Breast Cancer Informed Consent Statuses,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol14/iss2/2