Does the cancer patient want to know? Results from a study in an Indian tertiary cancer center

South Asian J Cancer. 2013 Apr;2(2):57-61. doi: 10.4103/2278-330X.110487.


Objective: The disclosure of the diagnosis of cancer is a distressing and complex issue. Families and doctors still do not tell patients when they have cancer in the belief that the patient does not want to know and telling him would lead to fear and depression. The aim of this survey was to evaluate the information needs of Indian cancer patients.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional survey of 300 patients' views was conducted with the help of an adaptation of Cassileth's Information Needs questionnaire.

Results: A majority of cancer patients exhibited a strong need for information about illness and treatment. Ninety-four percent wanted to know if their illness was cancer. Most patients also wanted to know the chance of cure (92%). Age, education, and type of treatment significantly affect information preferences. Gender did not have an effect on information needs.

Conclusion: This study showed that most of the patients wanted to know about their illness, treatment, side-effects, and chances of cure.

Keywords: Cancer; Indian; information needs; oncology; patient's preferences.