Background Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Patients report difficulty understanding and remembering initial discussions around their diagnosis and treatment.
The first interaction between an oncologist and patient is usually in the out-patient setting. Here, the oncology team discuss diagnosis, treatment options, side effects and prognosis. The team faces several challenges to ensure that patients understand their diagnosis and treatment, including determining how much their patients wish to know.
This project aims to determine how well a sample of patients from The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (BWoSCC) understand their diagnosis and treatment.
Methods 31 patients participated in our two-part survey between May and July 2021 at BWoSCC. The two-part survey comprised: part 1 – determined patients’ understanding of their diagnosis; part 2 – determined patients’ understanding of their treatment plan.
This was a convenience sample. Exclusions: treated under AWI, unable to engage due to acute illness, or approaching end of life. Clinical information was correlated with medical notes. Microsoft Excel was used for statistical analysis.
Results Diagnosis: 29 patients had their diagnosis explained to them at their first oncology appointment. 17 patients remembered their diagnosis fully; 12 partially. 90% of patients’ descriptions of their diagnosis were factually accurate.
Treatment: 23 patients felt they were adequately informed about treatment side effects, 5 felt partially informed and 3 felt uninformed. Shock at the news was the greatest barrier to remembering diagnosis and treatment.
Conclusion Over 90% of patients reported the oncology team explaining their diagnosis and treatment and were able to remember their diagnosis and treatment correctly. Shock at hearing the news was reported as the greatest barrier to patients remembering their diagnosis and treatment. Patients were very happy with their interaction with the oncology team and how they were helped to understand their diagnosis and treatment.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
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