A growing number of women diagnosed with cancer in a single breast opt to have both breasts removed; oncology nurse Crystal Chu (PhD ’23), now a post-doctoral fellow, saw it all the time. But these patients who opt for contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) often face a more difficult treatment pathway than expected, given the increased risks for infection, complications, and longer healing time, which can lead to treatment delays in the cancerous breast, depression, body image problems, and decisional regret.

To help patients considering CPM understand its risks, as a PhD in nursing student Chu created, deployed, and tested a novel decision-making tool that offered a balance sheet-style checklist, based on the validated methodology of the DecisionKEYs protocol. Phase one of Chu’s research found the tool was success for patients considering CPMs; in phase two of her research, Chu will create a decision-making tool series for breast cancer patients across the clinical spectrum that will explore risk tolerance, clinical versus economic decision making, and decisional conflict.

Research Focus

Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy; oncology nursing; breast cancer


Journal Articles

Keim-Malpass, J., Blair, L., Doede, A., Chu, C., Graham, C., & Petersen, W. (2023). Characteristics of phase 1 pediatric oncology clinical trials: Establishing a need for integrated patient-reported outcomes even in early phase trials. Cancer Care Research Online, 3(2), 0.

Chu, C., Smith, C., Gorski, J., Smolkin, M., Zhao, H., Jones, R., Hollen, P., & Dengel, L. (2023). Implementation of a Novel Patient Decision Aid for Women with Elevated Breast Cancer Risk Who Are Considering MRI Screening: A Pilot Study. Annals of Surgical Oncology, 30(10), 6152-6158.

Chu, C., Yoder, J., Dengel, L., & Hollen, P. (2022). The use of a decision aid designed for women presenting with minimally suspicious screening mammograms: A pilot study. Oncology Nursing Forum, 49(5), 471-479.

Carhuapoma, L., Thayer, W., Elmore, C., Gildersleeve, J., Singh, T., Shauka, F., Uveges, M., Gray, T., Chu, C., Song, D., Hollen, P., Wenzel, J., Jones, R. (2021). Employing a mobile health decision aid to improve decision-making for patients with advanced prostate cancer and their decision partners/proxies: The CHAMPION randomized controlled trial study design. BMC Trials, 22(631), 1-12.

DeGuzman, P. B., Chu, C., & Keim-Malpass, J. (2019). Built and natural environment barriers and facilitators to physical activity in rural, suburban, and small urban neighborhoods. Oncology Nursing Forum, 46(5), 545-555.