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One in three adults does not fully understand cancer treatment side effects

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 27, 2019
Rad Oncology Operating Room

Despite these experiences, nine in 10 patients overall felt they chose the best treatment, even though they desired more information about side effects. A majority (55 percent) consulted their primary care physicians on treatment options, with 64 percent of patients saying PCP opinions were very important and 29 percent saying they were somewhat important in their choice.

A fourth of all patients said they only consulted PCPs as information sources. Those who used additional information sources were most likely to seek advice from medical or cancer-related websites, family, friends, other cancer patients and cancer support groups.

"More in-depth patient counseling on these side effects could help us better prepare our patients for changes to their quality of life," said Dr. Narek Shaverdian, first author of the study and a radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in a statement, adding that "the pronounced impact of treatment side effects for patients receiving combination therapy also suggests a need to build better coordination between oncology disciplines about managing side effects and to improve informed consent processes across cancer therapies.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

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