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    Communication in Cancer Care (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Unique Aspects of Communication with Cancer Patients


    Results of another study found that whereas most well people preferred to play an active role in decision making, very sick people preferred the doctor to make decisions,[14] suggesting that seriously ill people may prefer a degree of paternalism in their care because an active role in decision making may take more physical and mental energy than these patients can afford. Alternatively, there may be a limit to the amount of negative and pessimistic information people can absorb before their capacity for coping is seriously compromised.[14]

    Although the categorization of patients into various participation styles appears to offer some useful predictive power for defining communication patterns, the issues are complex. It has been suggested that to match the provision of information and support with the expressed needs of patients, patients should ideally be queried frequently about their needs.[14,29] Information and involvement preferences may also be affected by factors such as a change in disease status and the behavior of the physician during consultation.[28] Individualizing treatment discussions to patients' preferred decision-making styles rather than encouraging decision-making autonomy is likely to maximize outcomes for patients with cancer.[30]


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    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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