Decision-making preferences and information needs among Greek breast cancer patients
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Objectives: We aimed at assessing Greek breast cancer patients' preferences for participation in treatment decision making and their information needs. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 329 breast cancer patients were administered at the Control Preferences Scale, a card-sort measurement designed to elicit preferences for participation in decision making. Information needs were assessed with Cassileth's Information Styles Questionnaire. Results: The majority of patients (71.1%) preferred to play a passive role in treatment decision making, with most of them wanting to delegate responsibility of the decision completely to their doctor (45.3%). A collaborative role was preferred by 24%, whereas only 4.6% chose an active role. Most women expressed a general desire for as much information as possible about their illness (62.6%), but a substantial proportion (37.4%) did not want detailed information; instead, they wished to avoid awareness of bad news. Women who desired less informational details and preferred a passive role requested less frequently a mammography (p<0.001) and/or Pap test (p<0.0005) prediagnostically. Conclusions: This study's findings showed that the proportion of patients who wanted to play a passive role in decision making is the highest reported compared to similar studies from other countries, indicating the impact of the dominating paternalistic model of the doctor-patient relationship in the Greek medical encounter. The association of desired information details and decision-making preferences with screening for cancer procedures prediagnostically highlights the significance of providing the patients with the appropriate information and the choices available for their treatment. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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