Family members influence cancer patients

23 February 2015

Family members often play an important role in helping patients make decisions about their cancer treatment, but a new study has suggested that some people are more likely to be influenced by their relatives.

The research, published online in the journal Cancer, provides some insight about how family members can help patients regarding their care.

Led by Dr Gabriella Hobbs and Dr Nancy Keating from Harvard Medical School, the study surveyed nearly 5,300 patients who had recently been diagnosed with lung or colon cancer. Each person was asked to involve their families in decisions about their care.

It found that just 1.5 per cent had family-controlled decisions, while nearly half (49.4 per cent) shared decisions with their relatives. Just over a quarter (28.5 per cent) had little or no input from their families, and 22.1 per cent reported some family input.

The team found that those who were married, older or female were more likely to share decisions with their families, while veterans were the least likely to.

Dr Hobbs said: "As we move to more patient-centred models of care, such assessments may help doctors personalise the care they offer their patients."

Posted by Edward Bartel

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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