We know that more people are being diagnosed with cancer and the number of new cases of cancer is projected to rise by 33% in the next 15 years.
- How can we ensure that patients and their loved ones receive the information they need to make the right choices about their care?
Several studies have documented substantial gaps between the outcomes patients prefer and the outcomes doctors ‘think’ patients prefer.
This study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published in 2012 interviewed more than 1000 patients with terminal lung or bowel cancer and found that 69% (lung cancer) and 81% (bowel cancer) thought that their chemo was potentially curative. This is never the case in these scenarios as it is only ever palliative, rarely prolongs life compared to those who don’t opt for it, and it fact sometimes kills people quicker because it’s so toxic.
In an earlier guest post, Shaun Maher discussed the importance of a person centred approach to care and mentioned the navigator project – an abstract of which can be found here:
In essence the navigator project found that when we supported people with good information, in plain English, and built an agenda for consultation around the things that mattered to them, they had much less decisional regret and anxiety. They also opted for less treatment.
You can find Shaun’s post here: