Appropriate, individualized sharing of information for patients with cancer was determined to be important during treatment, at the time of hospital discharge, and in primary care, according to an article published online in the journal European Journal of Cancer Care.
The authors of this study aimed to explore cancer survivors’ experiences regarding information they were given about potential long-term and late effects of pelvic radiotherapy.
Twenty-eight cancer survivors who had received pelvic radiotherapy for a range of cancers (1-11 years prior to the study) were interviewed. Participants from a larger questionnaire survey of patients treated at another hospital were also interviewed.
Results showed the patients acknowledged the potential ability of information to reassure and inform patients, but also identified its ability to produce undesirable effects or raise anxieties about future problems.
Furthermore, the participants identified the importance of the timing, amount of information provided, and context of their situations—value was also placed on information based on personal experience.
As more patients survive cancer for longer term, the long-term and late effects of treatments become increasingly important issues for cancer survivors and providing information to enable survivors to recognise and manage them becomes an increasingly pressing challenge for health care professionals.