Goals of work: The way to inform cancer patients varies widely among different countries. In most Mediterranean countries, the traditional approach has been of partial disclosure of the truth. The intent of our work was to find if the attitude in Italy has changed in recent years and if differences still exist among different geographical regions in our country. Both patients' and physicians' attitudes vary in Italy depending on geographical area. In the South, the focus is on traditional values and full involvement of patients' family, with limited communication to (and limited autonomy of) the patient. Such attitude is less pronounced in Central Italy, whereas the North is more oriented to open communication and full decisional autonomy of the patient. Materials and methods: Approximately 600 consecutive patients in three different centres in Northern, Central and Southern Italy (respectively, Udine, Ancona and Catanzaro) were asked to answer a 26-item questionnaire on communication aspects to investigate the quality of the information given and potential differences between geographical areas. Results: Questionnaires were completed by 587 patients (median age 60 years, 57% women), mainly with gastrointestinal (32%) or breast cancer (30%). About 370 patients (63%) had active disease at time of interview. A high proportion of patients were correctly informed on diagnosis (86%) and therapy (84%). On the contrary, patients fully aware of their prognosis were only about 43%. Nevertheless, most patients (60%) stated they were completely satisfied with the information received. There were differences between geographical areas on various information aspects, with patients from Southern Italy being, in general, less informed. Conclusions: In Italy, the cultural attitude towards communication in oncology is changing on both the physician and the patient side. There are still significant geographical differences, but there is a general trend suggesting improved awareness about diagnosis and treatment, with the notable exception of prognosis

Information to cancer patients: a questionnaire survey in three different geographical areas in Italy.

PUGLISI, Fabio;PIGA, Andrea
2008-01-01

Abstract

Goals of work: The way to inform cancer patients varies widely among different countries. In most Mediterranean countries, the traditional approach has been of partial disclosure of the truth. The intent of our work was to find if the attitude in Italy has changed in recent years and if differences still exist among different geographical regions in our country. Both patients' and physicians' attitudes vary in Italy depending on geographical area. In the South, the focus is on traditional values and full involvement of patients' family, with limited communication to (and limited autonomy of) the patient. Such attitude is less pronounced in Central Italy, whereas the North is more oriented to open communication and full decisional autonomy of the patient. Materials and methods: Approximately 600 consecutive patients in three different centres in Northern, Central and Southern Italy (respectively, Udine, Ancona and Catanzaro) were asked to answer a 26-item questionnaire on communication aspects to investigate the quality of the information given and potential differences between geographical areas. Results: Questionnaires were completed by 587 patients (median age 60 years, 57% women), mainly with gastrointestinal (32%) or breast cancer (30%). About 370 patients (63%) had active disease at time of interview. A high proportion of patients were correctly informed on diagnosis (86%) and therapy (84%). On the contrary, patients fully aware of their prognosis were only about 43%. Nevertheless, most patients (60%) stated they were completely satisfied with the information received. There were differences between geographical areas on various information aspects, with patients from Southern Italy being, in general, less informed. Conclusions: In Italy, the cultural attitude towards communication in oncology is changing on both the physician and the patient side. There are still significant geographical differences, but there is a general trend suggesting improved awareness about diagnosis and treatment, with the notable exception of prognosis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/882548
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