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Preferences of advanced lung cancer patients for information and participation in medical decision-making.

Author: Koen Pardon

Date: 29-03-2011

Promotor: Prof. dr. Luc Deliens 
Co-Promotors: Prof. dr. Reginald Deschepper, Prof. dr. Robert Vander Stichele, Prof. dr. Freddy Mortier

Summary of the dissertation

Background

People who are confronted with a diagnosis of advanced cancer have to cope with difficult and delicate information and with complex medical decisions concerning treatment, location of care and the end of life. Research has shown that an attitude of openness and cooperation on the part of the physician has beneficial effects on the patient. However, not all patients with a life-threatening disease want to be informed about their condition in detail or to be fully involved in medical decision-making.

Methods
This doctoral thesis examines a group of advanced lung cancer patients and asks about 1) the degree to which the patient wants to be informed about diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options, palliative care and end-of-life decisions, 2) the degree to which he or she wants to be involved in medical decisions, 3) their preferences regarding the involvement of family in the medical decision-making process, 4) the degree to which the physician meets the information and participation preferences of the patient, 5) possible changes over time in those preferences, and 6) the actual involvement of the patient in end-of-life decisions. Advanced lung cancer patients were included in the study by pulmonologists or oncologists of 13 hospitals in Flanders, Belgium. The patients were interviewed up to a maximum of six times during their disease trajectory. Preferences of advanced lung cancer patients for information and participation in medical decision-making was written as a PhD dissertation.

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