What determines the timing of discussions on forgoing anticancer treatment? A national survey of medical oncologists

Masanori Mori, Chikako Shimizu, Asao Ogawa, Takuji Okusaka, Saran Yoshida, Tatsuya Morita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: End-of-life discussions (EOLd) including the option of forgoing anticancer treatment infrequently occur until treatment options have been exhausted for advanced cancer patients. We aimed to identify oncologist-related factors contributing to the timing of discussing the option of forgoing anticancer treatment. Methods: In this nationwide survey of 864 medical oncologists, we asked about physicians’ attitudes toward the timing of discussing the option of forgoing anticancer treatment for a simulated patient with newly diagnosed metastatic cancer, physicians’ experience of EOLd, perceptions of a good death, and beliefs. Multivariate analyses identified determinants of early discussions. Results: Among 490 physicians (response rate = 57%), 167 (35%) would discuss the option of forgoing anticancer treatment “now (at the diagnosis).” Physicians’ attitudes toward discussing the option “now” were significantly correlated with a greater physician-perceived importance of life completion (odds ratio (OR) = 1.30, 95%CI = 1.00–1.69, p = 0.048) and dying in a preferred place (OR = 1.29, 95%CI = 1.01–1.65, p = 0.045) for a good death, and not perceiving EOLd as being severely distressing for patients/families (OR = 0.70, 95%CI = 0.54–0.95, p = 0.021). In multivariate analyses, independent determinants of the attitude toward discussing the option now included a greater physician-perceived importance of life completion for a good death (OR = 1.38, 95%CI = 1.05–1.81, p = 0.019), and not perceiving EOLd as being severely distressing for patients/families (OR = 0.70, 95%CI = 0.52–0.94, p = 0.017). Conclusions: Reflection by oncologists on their own perception regarding a good death and beliefs about EOLd may help oncologists individualize the timing of discussing the option of forgoing anticancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1382
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 1

Keywords

  • Attitude
  • Chemotherapy
  • Communication
  • Oncologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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