Cancer patients want more say in treatment decisions

More informed personal choice

We’ve told you before - At CANCERactive so many people have told us throughout our ten years: People with cancer want to be EMPOWERED, to take some control over their own lives and to make more-informed personal choices in their own treatment decisions. 

Now Cancer Research has discovered this too – from a research study, no less. Apparently ‘Cancer patients under 55 want more of a say in the decisions made about their treatment’, according to their research published in the British Journal of Cancer.

The research also shows that ethnic minorities and patients with rectal, ovarian, multiple myeloma and bladdercancers are more likely to feel they aren’t being given a big enough say in how they are treated.

Researchers funded by the National Institute for Health Research and conducted by the University of Cambridge looked at more than 40,000 responses to the 2010 English National Cancer Patient Experience Survey. Younger patients in particular said that decisions are made without enough of their personal input. And as we have told you, cancer is an ever-younger disease.

Dr Anas El Turabi, study author based at the University of Cambridge, said: “There appears to be a generation gap, possibly because younger patients expect to have more of a say in their treatment than older patients”.

Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos, study author based at the University of Cambridge, said: “This evidence highlights the importance of studying the experience of cancer patients using large national patient surveys. We won’t know if we are getting better at meeting patients’ expectations unless we continue to invest in national surveys of patient experience.” 

Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: “All patients should feel entitled to discuss the options available with their doctors and nurses and be given the chance to do so. It’s important that they’re made to feel more like the co-pilots, rather than the passengers, on their own cancer journeys”.

Ed: Did they really need research to tell them this? Are they soooo out of touch at Cancer Research? People tell us this every day. It’s why CANCERactive does what it does - we empower people by providing ALL the information, not just the bits on drugs and radiotherapy and surgery. Then they are more informed to make better choices and increase their personal odds of survival.

Patients are not stupid. They can go on the Internet and see the new and emerging treatments, the complementary and Integrative therapies. And they know this can all help them with their own lives and their own survival.

The next survey, at great waste of money to donors, will undoubtedly tell CRUK that they should provide MORE information on complementary and integrative therapies, and on new emerging treatments too. It amazes me that the leading cancer charity in Britain seemingly ignores the benefits of, say, curcumin, vitamin D and fish oils, or restricting calories and glucose, or stress management techniques, or clinical research from the Karolinska on using localized hyperthermia with breast cancer. 

Just talk to people touched by cancer, every day, like I do!

July - Oct 2013 Cancer Watch
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