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Cancer patient preferences for quality and length of life†
Version of Record online: 5 NOV 2008
Copyright © 2008 American Cancer Society
Volume 113, Issue 12, pages 3459–3466, 15 December 2008
How to Cite
Meropol, N. J., Egleston, B. L., Buzaglo, J. S., Benson, A. B., Cegala, D. J., Diefenbach, M. A., Fleisher, L., Miller, S. M., Sulmasy, D. P., Weinfurt, K. P. and CONNECT Study Research Group (2008), Cancer patient preferences for quality and length of life. Cancer, 113: 3459–3466. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23968
Clinicaltrials.gov registration ID: NCT00244868. Available at: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00244868?order=6
- Issue online: 4 DEC 2008
- Version of Record online: 5 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 JUN 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 11 JUN 2008
- Manuscript Received: 11 APR 2008
- Fox Chase Cancer Center Population Studies Facility. Grant Number: R01CA082085
- Behavioral Research Core Facility from the National Cancer Institute. Grant Number: P30CA06927
- quality of life;
- cancer communication;
- physician-patient communication;
- patient preferences;
- communication preferences;
- cancer-related distress;
- length of life preferences;
- patient decision making;
- cancer communication aid;
- patient values
Optimal patient decision making requires integration of patient values, goals, and preferences with information received from the physician. In the case of a life-threatening illness such as cancer, the weights placed on quality of life (QOL) and length of life (LOL) represent critical values. The objective of the current study was to describe cancer patient values regarding QOL and LOL and explore associations with communication preferences.
Patients with advanced cancer completed a computer-based survey before the initial consultation with a medical oncologist. Assessments included sociodemographics, physical and mental health state, values regarding quality and length of life, communication preferences, and cancer-related distress.
Among 459 patients with advanced cancer, 55% placed equal valued on QOL and LOL, 27% preferred QOL, and 18% preferred LOL. Patients with a QOL preference had lower levels of cancer-related distress (P < .001). A QOL preference was also associated with older age (P = .001), male sex (P = .003), and higher educational level (P = .062). Patients who preferred LOL over QOL desired a more supportive and less pessimistic communication style from their oncologists.
These data indicate that a values preference for LOL versus QOL may be simply measured, and is associated with wishes regarding the nature of oncologist communication. Awareness of these values during the clinical encounter could improve decision making by influencing the style and content of the communication between oncologists and their patients. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.