Cancer patients want more shared-decision making about their treatment

August 6, 2013

A new study of cancer patients indicates that certain patient groups have unmet needs for greater involvement in decisions about their treatment.

Cancer patients under 55 and those with some rarer want more of a say in the decisions made about their treatment, according to new research being published in the British Journal of Cancer today (Wednesday). Recently, several US states have introduced legislation or other policies supporting share-decision making.

The research also shows that ethnic minorities and patients with rectal, ovarian, and bladder cancers are more likely to feel they aren't being given a big enough say in how they are treated.

Scientists funded by the National Institute for Health Research at the University of Cambridge looked at more than 40,000 responses to the 2010 English National Cancer Patient Experience Survey. More than 70 per cent said they felt suitably involved in decisions about their treatment. But younger patients in particular responded to the survey saying that decisions are made without enough of their personal input.

Dr Anas El Turabi, study author based at the University of Cambridge, said: "Although the overall results are very positive and most patients do feel suitably involved in their , there are distinct groups where this isn't the case and we need to address this. There appears to be a generation gap, possibly because younger patients expect to have more of a say in their treatment than older patients.

"This study should help us to focus on those groups of patients who feel the least involved. This means doctors, nurses and the patients themselves need to work together and build strong relationships that allow them to discuss treatment options in every case. Some may also need extra support to make sure they're properly involved in making these decisions, such as having a longer consultation with doctors or specialist nurses."

Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos, study author, said: "Although there are differences between the US and UK healthcare systems, we would expect to find similar variation between American patients with different cancers.

"Additionally, this evidence highlights the importance of studying the experience of using large national patient surveys such as in the UK, and we feel similar US-wide surveys of this kind would be very useful in identifying those patients who feel side-lined during decisions around their own treatment for cancer."

Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: "All patients should feel entitled to discuss the options available with their doctors and nurses and be given the chance to do so. It's important that they're made to feel more like the co-pilots, rather than the passengers, on their own cancer journeys.

"Doctors want the best possible outcome for you when they're considering the most appropriate treatment but that doesn't mean the treatment will always suit every patient. Being able to talk freely about different options will help feel more involved."

Explore further: Bladder cancer patients over 70 less likely to get curative treatment

Related Stories

Bladder cancer patients over 70 less likely to get curative treatment

April 17, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Older bladder cancer patients are less likely than younger patients to receive treatments intended to cure their disease such as surgery to remove the bladder or radiotherapy. But this difference cannot ...

Cancer drug labels missing key information about patients' symptoms

July 8, 2013
Dr. Ethan Basch of UNC calls for pharmaceutical manufacturers to collect rigorous information on how drugs impact symptoms and quality of life starting early in drug development, and for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ...

Trust in physician eases talks about medical expenses

July 24, 2013
Strong relationships with physicians, particularly those that are long standing, are likely to increase patients' openness to talk about health care costs when decisions are being made about their treatment options. According ...

Doctor's advice for cancer patients: Not only medical aspects influence treatment recommendations

June 3, 2013
What treatment a doctor recommends for advanced cancer not only depends on medical aspects. His relationship to the individual patients and his own view of their life situation at their age play a role. This was found out ...

Study highlights female cancer patients unhappy with insufficient fertility support

July 22, 2013
Young female cancer patients are unhappy about the way fertility preservation options are discussed with them by doctors before starting cancer treatment, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Sheffield ...

Intervention assists end-of-life decisions in advanced cancer

August 5, 2013
(HealthDay)—In advanced cancer patients, an intervention with a pamphlet and discussion to assist with end-of-life decision making is associated with earlier placement of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders and less likelihood ...

Recommended for you

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.