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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 9

of 'Discussing serious news'

Preferences of advanced cancer patients for communication on anticancer treatment cessation and the transition to palliative care.
Umezawa S, Fujimori M, Matsushima E, Kinoshita H, Uchitomi Y
Cancer. 2015 Dec;121(23):4240-9. Epub 2015 Aug 26.
BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to clarify the communication preferences of patients with advanced cancer regarding discussions about ending anticancer treatment and transitioning to palliative care and to explore the variables associated with those preferences.
METHODS: Participants were 106 Japanese patients with cancer who had been informed at least 1 week earlier about the cessation of their anticancer treatment. They completed a survey measuring their preferences for communication about ending anticancer treatment and transitioning to palliative care as well as their demographic characteristics. Medical records were also examined to investigate medical characteristics.
RESULTS: Results of the descriptive analysis indicated that patients strongly preferred their physicians to listen to their distress and concerns (96%), to assure them that their painful symptoms would be controlled (97.1%), and to explain the status of their illness and the physical symptoms that would likely occur in the future (95.1%). Multiple regression analyses identified the factors associated with these preferences: telling patients to prepare mentally and informing them of their expected life expectancy were associated with cancer site; sustaining hope was associated with cancer site and children; and empathic paternalism was associated with duration since cancer diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of patients preferred their physicians to be realistic about their likely future and wanted to be reassured that their painful symptoms would be controlled. For patients with cancer at certain sites, those with children, and those more recently diagnosed, physicians should communicate carefully and actively by providing information on life expectancy and mental preparation, sustaining hope, and behaving with empathic paternalism. Cancer 2015;121:4240-4249.©2015 American Cancer Society.
Section of Liaison Psychiatry and Palliative Medicine, Division of Comprehensive Patient Care, Tokyo Medical and Dental University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.