Treatment decision-making and the added value of the general practitioner: A qualitative exploration of cancer patients' perspectives

Eveline A Noteboom, Sigrid C J M Vervoort, Anne M May, Eleonora B L van Dorst, Anne S R van Lindert, Maarten W van Elst, Rhodé M Bijlsma, Elsken van der Wall, Niek J de Wit, Charles W Helsper

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Cancer patients are increasingly involved in decision-making for cancer treatment. General practitioners' (GPs) support in this process is advocated. Therefore, GPs need to be aware of patients' treatment decision-making process and their potential role. We aim to understand the treatment decision-making process and to explore the added value of GP involvement, from the perspective of cancer patients treated with curative intent.

METHODS: An explorative qualitative study was performed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 purposively sampled Dutch cancer patients treated with curative intent.

RESULTS: Patients' treatment decision-making process was dominated by a focus on 'safeguarding survival'. Patients generally followed the treatment plan as proposed by their physician and did not always experience having a treatment choice. The majority of patients expressed added value for GP involvement, mainly to provide psychological support, but also for providing shared decision-making (SDM) support.

CONCLUSION: The treatment decision-making process of cancer patients treated with curative intent is dominated by the urge to 'safeguard survival'. GPs should be aware of their added value in providing psychological support and their potential role to support SDM following a cancer diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13410
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Volume30
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • decision-making
  • general practice
  • general practitioners
  • medical oncology
  • neoplasms
  • patient preference

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