(HealthDay News) — Thyroid cancer survivors have reported inadequate understanding of treatment before receiving it, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Researchers administered a cross-sectional survey to members of the ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association Inc. and to individuals accessing the ThyCa website. A total of 1412 patients responded to the survey.

Of evaluable respondents, 37.2% said they lacked understanding of their treatment before receiving it, and 40.9% reported that their treatment experience did not meet their expectations. Only 18.1% of respondents reporting inadequate pretreatment understanding had their treatment expectations met.

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Respondents who reported a lack of understanding about treatment said they were not well informed about postoperative treatment/surveillance or treatment effects, such as needing to take thyroid hormone replacement, among other things. Respondents who reported unmet expectations expressed a need for greater attention to well-being, energy levels, hormone replacement, thyroid-stimulating hormone suppression, and surveillance, among other things.

There was an independent association between self-reported failure to understand treatment with failure of treatment to meet expectations in a multivariate analysis. Indicating that the initial treatment experience was on par with expectations was more than 5-fold more likely for patients reporting a full understanding of their treatment plan, independent of multiple confounders.

“Patient understanding of treatment is independently associated with treatment meeting expectations, which, in turn, has been shown in other research to affect postoperative patient-reported health-related quality of life,” the study authors wrote.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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