Attitude of cancer patients toward diagnosis disclosure and their preference for clinical decision-making: a national survey

Arch Iran Med. 2014 Apr;17(4):232-40.


Objectives: There is still contradictory evidence on disclosure preferences regarding cancer diagnosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the preference of cancer patients for knowing the truth about their disease, as well as the factors that might have an impact on these preferences.

Method: This study was conducted in 11 cancer centers in Iran. A questionnaire was used to collect data, and all patients above 15 years of age who were willing to participate were included in the study. The patients were asked if they were aware of the malignant nature of their disease, and if they came to know about their disease at the time of initial diagnosis, or later. The patients were then asked about the way they looked upon their disease. In the final part of the questionnaire, the participants were asked the level of involvement they prefer to have in making treatment decisions.

Results: In total, 1226 patients were enrolled in this study, only 565 (46.7%) of whom were aware of their disease at the time of diagnosis, and 878 (72.7%) at the time of interview, while 980 (85.2%) were willing to receive information about their disease. Patients' awareness was significantly associated with age under 50 years, female gender, having breast, skin or head and neck cancer, and having medical care in Shiraz or Hamadan while it was not associated with the stage or accompanying illness.

Conclusion: While the majority of Iranian cancer patients prefer to be aware of the nature of their disease and have an active role in treatment decision making, they do not receive this information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Preference*
  • Prognosis
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure*