Beliefs and practices of patients with advanced cancer: implications for communication

Beadle, Geoffrey F., Yates, Patsy, Najman, Jackob M., Clavarino, Alexandra, Thomson, David, Williams, Gail, Kenny, Liz, Roberts, Syd, Mason, Bernard R., & Schlecht, David (2004) Beliefs and practices of patients with advanced cancer: implications for communication. British Journal of Cancer, 91(2), pp. 254-257.

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The aim of this study was to investigate the beliefs that patients with advanced cancer held about the curability of their cancer, their use of alternatives to conventional medical treatment, and their need to have control over decisions about treatment. Of 149 patients who fulfilled the criteria for participation and completed a self-administered questionnaire, 45 patients (31%) believed their cancer was incurable, 61 (42%) were uncertain and 39 (27%) believed their cancer was curable. The index of need for control over treatment decisions was low in 53 patients (35.6%) and high in only 17 patients (11.4%). Committed users of alternatives to conventional medical treatments were more likely to believe that their cancer was curable (P<0.001) and to have a higher need for control over decisions about treatment (P<0.004). The mean need for control scores were highest in patients who believed that their cancer was curable, or who were uncertain about the curability of their cancer, but who acknowledged that their oncologist had reported that the cancer was incurable. The diverse beliefs, attitudes and actions of these patients were consistent with a range of psychological adaptions to a life-threatening illness, some realistic and others illusory. Illusory responses influence what communication can achieve in daily oncology practice.

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16 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 1332
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information please refer to the Journal's website (link above)or contact author, Patsy Yates
Keywords: belief in curability, need for control, communication, advanced cancer
DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6601950
ISSN: 0007-0920
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care) (111003)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Nature Publishing Group
Deposited On: 13 Oct 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:07

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