Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

A Delphi study on the multimodal therapeutic approach to breast cancer; what we know and what we can learn.

Mariateresa Tassinari, Ilaria Iseppato, Denita Bace, Maria Elena Fossati, Paolo Roberti di Sarsina


Background & Aims: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in over 140 countries and it is also the major cause of death of women if we include the so-called “least-developed” countries. If, in the view of Evidence-based Medicine (EBM), data regarding the treatment deemed as the most effective is widely available (although still subject to improvement, updating or disagreement), results regarding research input conducted on patients from the person-centered medical perspective are still lacking (where knowing how to give the same importance in all stages and all the actors of the disease is fundamental). In consideration of this lack of attention regarding the centrality of the patient in the therapeutic path, the aim of this study was to understand the considerations that underlie the management of breast cancer between the members of a non-profit organization designed to promote the humanization of medicine by means of sustainable treatments and therapy and to infer how these findings can be implemented.

Methods: We conducted a Delphi survey among the members of the Charity Association for Person Centered Medicine-Moral Entity. Participants completed an open-ended questionnaire to answer various questions on female breast cancer with a specific focus on Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) issues.

Results and Discussion: The attribution of meaning to the concept of “Embodiment” itself both in relation to culture, environment, lifestyle and psychological sphere as well as the attribution of meaning to the concept of care and its practical implications was heterogeneous. It is extremely significant that all the sample responded that a multimodal and multidisciplinary approach that includes not only the biomedical approach is more effective.

Conclusion: The urgency for the implementation of a multi-modal and multi-factorial method in breast cancer therapies is the most crucial conclusion, the starting point to rethinking a medical practice which is centered on the patient.


Person-centred medicine, breast cancer, multimodal therapy, delphi method

Full Text:



Bray, F., Ren, J.S., Masuyer, E. & Ferlay J. (2013). Estimates of global cancer prevalence for 27 sites in the adult population in 2008. International Journal of Cancer 132 (5) 1133-1145. [accessed 24/03/2015].

Hsu, C.C. & Sandford, B.A. (2007). The Delphi Technique: Making Sense Of Consensus. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation 12 (10) 1-8.

Jones, J. & Hunter, D. (1995). Consensus methods for medical and health services research. British Medical Journal 311 (7001) 376-380.

Von der Gracht, H.A. (2012). Consensus measurement in Delphi studies. Review and implications for future quality assurance. Technological Forecasting & Social Change 79, 1525-1536.

Landeta, J. (2006). Current validity of the Delphi method in social sciences. Technological Forecasting & Social Change 73, 467-482.

Klimenko, E. & Julliard, K. (2007). Communication between CAM and mainstream medicine: Delphi panel perspectives. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 13, 46-52.

Walach, H., Falkenberg, T., Fønnebø, V. & Lewith, G. (2006). Circular instead of hierarchical: methodological principles for the evaluation of complex interventions. BMC Medical Research Methodology 6, 29.

Roberti di Sarsina, P. & Iseppato, I. (2010). Person-Centred Medicine: Towards a Definition. Forchende Komplementärmedizin 17 (5) 277-278.

Roberti di Sarsina, P. & Tassinari, M. (2015). Person-centred Healthcare and Medicine Paradigm: it's time to clarify. EPMA Journal 6 (1) 11.



  • There are currently no refbacks.