Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer Patients Are Not Given Enough Information, Experts Say

Date:
August 3, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Two thirds of cancer patients receive little or no information about the survival benefits of having palliative chemotherapy before making a decision about treatment, according to a new study.

Two thirds of cancer patients receive little or no information about the survival benefits of having palliative chemotherapy before making a decision about treatment, according to a study published on the British Medical Journal website.

Related Articles


Palliative chemotherapy for patients with advanced cancer has modest survival benefits and there is an expectation in the UK that such patients should be given accurate information so they can give informed consent before starting chemotherapy.

At the advanced stages of cancer, survival gain from palliative chemotherapy treatment tends to be months rather than years.

A study by researchers from the University of Bristol, however, found that in more than two thirds of cases, patients were not given information about the survival benefits of such treatment.

The study, which was funded by Cancer Research UK, was carried out at a large teaching hospital and a district general hospital in the south west of England where 37 patients' cases were considered.

Consultations with oncologists were digitally recorded with each patient, all of whom had advanced forms of cancer. Three common cancers were chosen – colorectal, non-small cell lung, and pancreatic cancer.

The researchers used data from a study of patients' of experiences treatments (ASPECTS) to examine the extent to which survival gain was discussed when patients were offered palliative chemotherapy.

A researcher interviewed each patient before they saw the oncologist, recorded the consultation with the health professional, and then interviewed the patient again within weeks.

During the consultations, there was consistency in informing patients that a cure was not being sought for them, but the amount of information about survival benefit varied considerably.

Information given to patients about survival benefit included: numerical data ("about four weeks"); an idea of timescales ("a few months extra"); vague references ("buy you some time"); or no mention at all.

Only six patients out of 37 were given numerical data about the survival benefits of treatment.

For the majority of consultations observed (26 out of 37), discussion of survival benefit with patients was vague or it was not mentioned at all.

The researchers say there are concerns that the "intrusiveness of unfavourable numbers", in terms of months left to live, can undermine healthcare relationships and destroy hope.

They say: "Giving comprehensible and appropriate information about survival benefit is extremely difficult. In addition, the reluctance to inform patients of the limited survival gain of palliative chemotherapy may be motivated by a desire to 'protect' patients from bad news.

"However, the reluctance to address these difficulties and sensitivities may be hampering patients' ability to make informed decisions about their future treatment."

The researchers say oncologists and cancer teams have to communicate sufficient information to enable patients to make informed decisions based on realistic aspirations, but to do so in a sensitive manner and at the patient's pace.

They also recommend that oncologists receive training in how to communicate relevant information on survival benefits to their patients.

National updated information is needed about the prognosis of advanced cancer and the benefits of palliative chemotherapy as well as decision aids to help patients interpret information, say Daniel Munday and Jane Maher in an accompanying editorial.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Cancer Patients Are Not Given Enough Information, Experts Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731205419.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, August 3). Cancer Patients Are Not Given Enough Information, Experts Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731205419.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Cancer Patients Are Not Given Enough Information, Experts Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731205419.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins