Factors associated with a preference for disclosure of life expectancy information from physicians: a cross-sectional survey of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy

Megumi Uchida, Chikao Sugie, Michio Yoshimura, Eiji Suzuki, Yuta Shibamoto, Masahiro Hiraoka, Tatsuo Akechi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Purpose: This study aimed to investigate experiences and preferences for disclosure of life expectancy, agreement between them, and the factors associated with preferences for disclosure of life expectancy with physicians among cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Methods: Cancer patients aged 20 years or older were consecutively sampled when they started radiation therapy at two university hospitals. Patients completed self-administered questionnaires concerning their experiences of and preferences for disclosure of life expectancy, treatment decision-making, psychological distress, physical symptoms, sociodemographic and medical factors, physician’s communication style, and provision of psychological, physical, and practical support. Results: Among the 226 respondents (response rate: 58%) who responded, 54% experienced disclosure of life expectancy, and 45% preferred it. The agreement is 65%. Eighty-five percent recognized their aim of radiation therapy as curative. A univariate analysis indicated that having a full/part-time job and wishing to leave treatment decisions to doctors were significantly associated with preference for disclosure of life expectancy, but psychological distress was not. A multiple regression analysis revealed that having a full-time/part-time job was significantly associated with preference of communication about life expectancy. Conclusions: Fifty-four percent of the patients experienced and 45% of the patients preferred disclosure of life expectancy. The agreement is moderate. Our results show that there was a significant association between employment status and patient’s preference for disclosure of life expectancy with physicians. Communication of prognosis is difficult but whether a patient continues to work or not may be an indicator of preference.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)4487-4495
    Number of pages9
    JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
    Volume27
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

    Keywords

    • Cancer
    • Doctor-patient communication
    • Life expectancy
    • Prognosis
    • Radiation therapy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oncology

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