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Shared decision making during radiation therapy improves patient satisfaction
Date:4/14/2014

making a priority."

Past studies of SDM in patients undergoing chemotherapy, as well as treatments for other medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, have shown an association with improved satisfaction and quality of life. Taking notice, the Institute of Medicine recently recognized its importance, and the Affordable Care Act even devotes an entire section to establishing a program for SDM. However, no group has evaluated its impact on patients going through radiation.

Often, radiation oncology is seen as a treatment avenue that is ultimately left to the physician to dictate. But there are tailored options, decisions, and discussions that can apply to individual patients, even if they all have similar diagnoses. There are different radiation regimens, dosages, risks and benefits, as well as pain control management issues, that should be part of the ongoing conversation.

Among the participants in the study, 31 percent of patients experienced SDM, 32 percent perceived control in decisions, and 76 percent reported feeling very satisfied with their radiation treatment course overall. There was a significant association noted between patient satisfaction with his/her radiation treatments and patient-perceived experience of SDM (84.4 percent vs. 71.4 percent) or perceived control over one's treatment (89.7 percent vs. 69.2 percent).

Patients who specifically desired control over their treatment decisions, but did not perceive this control, experienced significantly more anxiety (44 percent vs. 20 percent), depression (44 percent vs. 15 percent), and fatigue (68 percent vs. 39.2 percent), compared with patients who did not perceive a sense of control in their treatment decisions.

One of the strengths of the study is its diverse group of patients. Ages ranged from 18 to 87 years old, with patients of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds, and having various cancers at all stages, as long as they were well enough
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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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